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Bear Stearns Spitzers Itself

The search for the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider is a simple affair compared to trying to figure out what is going on with our financial markets. Physics tends to be an exact science, whereas high finance increasingly appears to be an enterprise based on hunches, speculation, Ouija board interpretation, numerology and dowsing.

Let us consider the fact that the Federal Reserve, hoping to stave off global financial panic, used all of its muscle this weekend to hasten the acquisition of Bear Stearns by J.P. Morgan in advance of the opening of the Asian markets this morning. The alternative for Bear Stearns (and by the way, isn't that an ominous name for a company on Wall Street?) was to file bankruptcy. The company had collapsed faster than the governor of New York's career. Yep: Sometime around Thursday night or early Friday, Bear Stearns had spitzered itself.

But if you're a nervous Asian securities trader, the events on Wall Street on Sunday surely did nothing to calm the nerves. As recently as Thursday afternoon, Bear Stearns was selling for $70 a share. It lost half its value Friday. By Sunday night a share of the company could be had for roughly the price of a large cup of coffee.

The fact that J.P. Morgan wouldn't pay more than $2 a share for a company that claimed just recently to be worth at least $85 a share calls into question what any of these securities firms are worth. The answer, in part, is that everything is worth whatever we think they're worth. That's the nature of free markets.

"A company is only as solvent as the perception of its solvency," a market analyst wrote Friday in downgrading the status of Bear Stearns (see column in today's Wall Street Journal.)

The markets, however, are supposed to be rational, girded by the emergent wisdom of the collective. But if they're so rational, why were people as late as Friday afternoon still buying Bear Stearns stock as investors dumped it? Stocks are rarely in a true free fall. Someone's buying. And what were investors thinking a few months back when Bear Stearns was going for $145 a share?

Bear Stearns got eyebrows-deep with private hedge funds and all manner of inscrutable newfangled financial "instruments." All of these Wall Street firms are leveraged out the wazoo. Their executives have found ways to pocket $100 million or more in a single year during good times. They probably figure they deserve the big haul in compensation for knowing how to manage risk.

Lizard-hearted though it may be, I cannot stir myself to feel sorry for them in this bleak hour.

Someone smart about money needs to explain to me why the government needs to rescue institutions and individuals who make stupid financial decisions. The housing industry is desperate for the government to bail out - excuse me, bolster -- that sector of the economy, but that's a bubble that surely had to burst at some point. When bungalows go for a million dollars, the market has lost its mind.

Obviously the government has a role to play in reducing the number of foreclosures and helping people keep their homes, if possible. That's in the interest of everyone. No doubt there was predatory lending in many cases. But whatever the government does, it should be careful that it doesn't do anything that lowers, even on the margin, the yield on common sense.

Living within one's means, being prudent rather than reckless, is not just an abstract, old-fashioned virtue, but a calculated choice designed to maximize long-term returns. That kind of approach needs to be rewarded -- whether you're an ordinary person or a giant Wall Street securities firm.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 17, 2008; 11:09 AM ET
 
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Next: That Poor, Deprived McCartney Child

Comments

First?

Joel's right; figuring out the financial markets is a mug's game. Be very afraid when Bush says that either there is no problem, or the government will solve the problem.

Posted by: Yoki | March 17, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

First?

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 17, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

McCain and Cheney both in Baghdad today. Coincidence?

Posted by: daiwanlan | March 17, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Gordon Gekko time. Saturday evening, I was watching the financial news in somewhat the same way I'd followed the Katrina flood, except that bad (and deadly) as Katrina was, this weekend seemed to mark a fundamental shift in America's economic situation and position in the world. Some uneducated surmises:

1. Bernanke is the perfect Federal Reserve chairman for now.
2. The crisis is causing inflation in places like Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Costa Rica, where the local currencies are linked to the dollar. In little Panama, the dollar IS the currency. And they're terribly worried about the price of rice, gasoline, everything.
3. Possibly, later on, serious deflation in the US (Pritchard-Evans at the Telegraph. Grant at the Post doesn't seem to bring that up).
4. US dollar is losing its special status as the world's "reserve currency". Grant explains what this means.
5. Buenos Aires, Argentina has been filling up with artists and creative types because it's as charming as Paris and vastly cheaper (NY Times travel story this weekend). Not many American cities have that sort of classy charm, but I bet we'll be seeing lots of European expatriates living cheap in the US. Adams Morgan? Portland? Philly?
6. I've given up on buying the Nissan Xterra 4X4 I was coveting. Financial Times reports that oil futures are above $100 through 2015. Some experts predict price spikes as high as $175.
7. Good thing New York retailers have lots of foreign tourists buying stuff. An awful lot of Bear Stearns stock was owned by its employees. I bet employees of other investment banks will be much more careful about spending. [Note to European readers: think about ski bargains in Aspen this winter].

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 17, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

But I'm probably going to rebuild the kitchen anyway. Free advice is eagerly sought.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 17, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if I dare check what our retirement nest eggs are worth today vs. this time last year. Nah, no reason to ruin an otherwise good day. Besides, attempts at market timing just insure more losses than gains.

I wonder if market psychology, like so much of American life, has suffered from the boomers' desire to remain young forever. It's like a bunch of teens took over and decided stocks should be like fashion-every season a new hot thing to be abandoned when the next hot thing comes along. (Doesn't explain the insanely long run of muffin top jeans but seems like there's always an exception to a good analogy.)

Snow has come earlier than expected and is blowing horizontally past my window, sometimes big fluffy flakes, other times little sandblasting nodules. Glad I don't have any meetings "in town" today.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 17, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Saw "John Adams" last night. Not sure if I like Danny Huston--he having played some strange roles in the past--as John's second cousin Sam. Continental Congress Sam's dad is the brewer whose name we all recognize. Sam's story is as interesting as his cousin's--but bleaker.

Did like David Morse as Washington, but couldn't pin down who it was at first, with the heavy makeup and aded pounds and costume--but central casting has the actor with the height right. Do agree that Jefferson, with the red hair, does seem a bit effete.

Getting those canon over the Berkshires must have been some ordeal. Not much mention of the Townshend Act. Shales and our own local TV critic not good on writing about the topic of variolation. Physician Benjamin Rush wasn't "b1eeding" the family but variolating them.

Also, wonder why Braintree, Mass., was renamed Quincy. Braintree, Essex, is the Loomis family seat in Britain. And how did Quincy end up as John's son's middle name? Is there a tie-in between the Massachusetts town and village? Also, an old text I have said that Abigail was the only woman to have been married to a president and the mother of another--the text now needing revising...until Bar' came along, that is. And wasn't it Mark Twain who came up with the phrase about three day's of guests' visits and fish--used in the second part last night?

Am in my coughing and draining phase. Hardly back to normal, but each day a little better. Loomispouse got home Saturday night, and as a treat we went to the new restaurant under the roof of the Bass Pro Shop. Best white clam chowder we had in decades, since the Oregon coast, and I sprung for the wasabi and sesame-covered fresh tuna steak. Yum.

Loomispouse was up at 5 a.m. working from homeSunday, and for too many hours yesterday--IMHO, but when we could, since the cupboards were bare, we headed out for breakfast and grocery shopping. Tried a little restaurant in an old, historic building in Helotes, called the Old Town Grill. I had Eggs Benedict Boxty. Never had the potato pancake boxty before, think it must be an acquired Irish taste. They had to recook my meal to get it to me hot--the first plate of food was stone cold. Strong coffee. Doubt if we will return. Can't wait to get back to Bass Pro Shop restaurant, with its oversized aquarium, for another dinner.

With the price of gold topping $1,000 an ounce, I should write about the exceptional young women with whom I continue to become better acquainted, but with this sinus infection--or is it an extreme allergic reaction to the leaf fall and bud of live oaks?--feel that I'm good for only one post a day--and this is it for the 17th.

Posted by: Loomis | March 17, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Bayou! Good to hear from you again. I trust that the schoolhouse gig is going well. We're finishing the 3rd quarter this week, then on to the testing gaultlet.

Great kit, Joel. I get the feeling that this issue hasn't resonated with the general public the same way that tornado damage to one's property would, because the numbers are too big. By now, so many companies specializing low interest mortgages, hedge funds and the like, the losses are upwards of a trillion dollars in the past six months or so. It almost begs the question of these CEO's: "Are you a financial expert???" "No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night." Krugman has been warning of this for a long time. This article links to his take on the bailout:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/17/opinion/17krugman.html?hp

Posted by: jack | March 17, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Is there a tie-in between the Massachusetts town and village?

Correct to: Is there a tie-in between renamed Massachusetts town and the Adams scion president?

Off to get more rest.

Posted by: Loomis | March 17, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, hope the g-girl recovers quickly.

Nice to see you around Bayou Self.

Posted by: dmd | March 17, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Bear Stearns... Sounds like a local-news sports reporter.

"And now to Bear Stearns with the Friday night football highlights."

And Loomis, anything I can find attributes the houseguests and fish quote to Ben Franklin, not Twain.

Posted by: Gomer | March 17, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Howdy, and a good morning to you all.

I wish the Feds didn't have to bail out Bear Sterns and their ilk, given what I view as their bad faith and bad corporate citizenship which contributed to our economic mess. However, I've been very disturbed in the last few weeks by the reports of bank liquidity solidifying (boy, that was fun to say). Bank Jello pudding, perhaps. I'd rather inadvertently reward some bad actors than stand by while our banking economy, and by extension that of much of the world, collapses. That would be bad. I hope this assuages investors. Someone (Krugman?) advocated bringing back something like the Resolution Trust Corp. from the S&L collapse. As an Okie I have a vivid recollection of the Penn Square collapse (which arguably triggered a lot of the 80s meltdown). I think a Resolution Trust Corp. for failing investment banks, etc., would be a good thing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 17, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I have never really understood why the government bails out large companies like the airlines or mortgage brokers. The gummint bigwigs talk about free-market economy and how it will fix all and regulate itself and blah blah blah. Why not let the airlines that need bailouts tank and let the free market replace them with smaller companies that can do the job more cheaply? Right, lobbyists. little guys can't afford lobbyists. Just another example of an us-and-them mentality. If I default on my payments, I lose my house, car, whatever. I stand no chance of the gummint giving me a handout to fix the problems I create. Wish I already had gajillions of dollars and owned me a few congressmen. Then I might get a bailout.

Posted by: Gomer | March 17, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Dave, according to a report I heard this morning, about 1/3 of the bears Stearns employees hold stock (so yeah, they are screwed, brewed and double-tattooed); there are about 14,000 employees altogether, most about to become (or already are, by lunchtime) unemployed. Somebody pointed out that if an overseas company had bought BS (remind me not to comment upon the initials), many might still have jobs. But since JP Morgan Chase is right around the corner, and has its own infrastructure, most of the BS people are redundant, so buh-bye.

And here's a love note from Alan Greenspan: the economy, he says, is in the worst shape its been in since WWII:

CNNMoney.com
Economy most troubled since WWII: Greenspan
Monday March 17, 7:11 am ET

"Today's economic condition could likely be seen as "the most wrenching since the end of the second world war," wrote former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan in the Financial Times on Monday.

"The U.S. financial crisis won't end until housing prices stabilize, but that won't happen for months, wrote Greenspan. The models used by the finance industry to determine risk and measure economic strength are too simple to fully account for human responses, he said.

"We cannot hope to anticipate the specifics of future crises with any degree of confidence," he wrote. However, Greenspan said that he hoped the fallout would not take away the finance industry's ability to regulate itself. Market flexibility and free competition are the most reliable safeguards against economic trouble, he said; the system which is supposed to guard against unanticipated losses will need to be overhauled.

So here's how it stacks up, folks: On the day George Bush took office, the economy was as strong as it has ever been; America was a well-respected nation, gas prices were under control, and the dollar was strong. Now...anybody want to finish that sentence without tossing your cookies?

Good thing Republicans are good at handling money and managing the economy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 17, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Qunicy Mass is named for John Quincy, great grandfather of JQ Adams, and a major poobah in the Massachusetts colony. John Hancock's wife was a Quincy.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 17, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Bayou Self! Top o' the morning, Boodle!

I have no green suitable for wearing outside my house. Not sure how that has happened, because I like green. I used to have a gorgeous, deep emerald green sweater that was perfect for St Patrick's Day.

Mr Ml watches CNBC in the morning and is becoming increasingly panicked about the economy. He wants to buy silver, in the hope that it will somehow keep its value (hahaha). I'm not looking at the 401K stuff for awhile.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 17, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

My parents were both born during the Depression. They instilled in me the virtues of that time. By which, of course, I mean profound economic paranoia. I have more retirement accounts than I do shoes. I even spread things between companies. (I mean, what if Vanguard goes belly up?) In addition to extreme diversity, my economic approach is based on ignorance. I seldom look at how the funds are doing. Indeed, I only look at them around tax time. Sometimes this provides a pleasant lift.

This year, alas, I imagine not so much.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 17, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Mine are in TIAA_CREF and Wells-Fargo, Padouk. I figure that gives me a 50-50 chance. I'm fairly confident in the Wells-Fargo, since stagecoach robberies have declined to a marked degree over the last century. If I have to chose between Butch Cassidy versus anybody on Wall Street, I'm going with Cassidy and Sundance: better ethics.

The great ierony about the mortgage collapse is that we all have The Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan, to thank for all this: he and his fellow Conservatives were the guys who de-regulated the banks and the airlines. And you can see how well the airlines turned out. Thanks, Ron, and the rest of you Conservative schmucks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 17, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, deregulation of universities has also pushed tuition levels to (almost) unattainable heights. At the same time, we are pushing all students to go to college, whether they want it and can hack it or not. How will they pay for it? Just send them all to Harvard, I guess. School's free there, I hear.

Posted by: Gomer | March 17, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Scotty and dmd. The g-girl is with me, while mommy is doing some stuff. She's her same old perky self, except for the bad throat. Antibiotics in use.

I don't know beans about the financial markets or institutions on Wall Street. Cannot understand any of this stuff. My take on it all is that Wall Street worships its god, which is money. And so far their god has been spewing wrath and anger. Perhaps the sacrifices of greed and abuse have not been enough to warrant a blessing of more money. You think?

Hello, bayou self. So glad to hear from you.

Mudge, I think we all know the answer to that question. I just wonder what the folks are thinking that voted for Bush. Do they cringe now?

Posted by: cassandra s | March 17, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Of course, from here on out my retirement will be in the Thrift Savings Plan managed by the gubmint. I have things set up in one of those flexible plans whose distributions are based upon your expected retirement year. Which, in my case, is 2040.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 17, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

When I am 78.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 17, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

cassandra s: " I just wonder what the folks are thinking that voted for Bush."

Thinking? By people that voted for Mr. Bush?

Posted by: Tim | March 17, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I watched John Adams last night. I thought at first that it was excruciatingly slow, but I persevered, and I'm glad I did. I too thought that Jefferson was quite the effete, but I imagine he was in real life, and given what we now know about him, not quite the night in shining armor we were led to believe.

One question: why would the guns from Fort Ticonderoga have to go through Braintree to get to Dorchester Heights? Bad Sneakers? Anyone?

As for the economy: please, please, puleeze tell me that I won't have to go back to work!!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 17, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

This is why most Americans feel they don't know anything about the stock market and economics in general (author witheld to protect the opaque, this was published in '06)

"In this paper we show that the solution to the standard consumer maximisation problem which is augmented by habit-persistence can imply a positive and linear relationship between changes in the level of savings and changes in present income. We show that these savings-income dynamics contrast with the orthodox view that the level of the savings rate is related to the present growth rate of income. The model also implies that if expectations of future changes in income are positive and present income itself is stationary, then the level of consumption tends to converge on income over time and savings fall. In these circumstances the standard model predicts that the level of savings and consumption remain constant. Using personal savings and disposable income time series data, we show that a simple bivariate version of the habits-augmented model which assumes constant expectations of future changes in income and strong habit persistence performs extremely well in terms of explaining the dynamics of post-war United States personal savings rates; in particular their recent decline to historic lows."

In other words, when things are going well and folks expect them to keep getting better, they save less. Aesop had some fables about this.

As much as I despise predatory lending, and "creative" financing that sucked in a lot of people (who might have known better if "practical math" still counted as a real math credit in high school) I dread the massive loss of $ that will happen when people try to protect their savings by investing in inflation, recession, total global financial depression-proof things like silver mines, gold, breeding stock in exotic animals whose meat Americans will suddenly acquire a taste for. I guess there's an upside for you, the low-rent hucksters are going to see a surge in income after years of losing out to Wall Street.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 17, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, Maggie, I don't think I could stand going back to work!

My serious funds are with a local company whose employees I like a great deal and who have done very well by me. Like others, I'm not going to look at the statement when it comes. Nor the 401K statement.

I hope this mess is resolved sooner rather than later. But I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: slyness | March 17, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Maggie
Jefferson-
Why not the knight in shining armor?

Posted by: cassandra s | March 17, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

If more of you had spent your Friday evenings with Louis Rukeyser instead of galavanting off to parties and movies and the such, you'd all be much more informed about investing and Wall Street.

Now you're stuck with Jim Cramer.

And remember.. investing in gold, etc, only makes you money if you actually sell it when the price is high. Otherwise, it's just another way of being rich on paper.

Posted by: TBG | March 17, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'm glad the g-girl can be sick with Grandma. One nice thing about strep is they can fix it, and those antibiotics work fast.

I liked your take on the angry god of Wall Street. I just wish his wrath wasn't taking the rest of us down with his greedy worshippers!

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 17, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

TBG-I was a big Rukeyser fan, puns and all. Now I listen to Marketplace Money on public radio on Saturdays.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 17, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra,
Jefferson had feet of clay. Have you heard of his relationship with Sally Hemings?

This is the first paragraph of Wikipedia's entry on Sally Hemings --

Shadwell, Albemarle County, Virginia, circa 1773 - Charlottesville, Virginia, 1835) was an American slave owned by Thomas Jefferson. She is said to have been, by blood, the half-sister of Jefferson's deceased wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson.[1] Jefferson was alleged during his administration to have fathered several children with slaves; more recently DNA tests indicate that a male in Jefferson's line, possibly (but not conclusively) Thomas Jefferson himself, was the father of several of Sally Hemings's children.


Read more here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Hemings

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 17, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, that's an easy one...

The Pike was closed because of the weather.

*rim shot*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 17, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, Good one!

*Saving vowels for the economic collapse.

Posted by: mgg 'd * | March 17, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

For years, I was frought with guilt and self-loathing for not contributing anything into some kind of retirement fund. Now I see that this may have been the best decision that I ever made.

I'm spending my kids inheritance, thank you very much.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | March 17, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Poor people suffer everyday of their lives. They're either trying to fight famine or trying to keep a roof over their heads.

Sometimes it is hard, but sometimes it is fair. And that is not to suggest that one likes to see anyone suffer, because that is not the case. Yet in this country of wealth and plenty, some people feel their money and what they have is a security blanket from what so many of us face daily. And it just a'int so. The two Americas, separated by money.

Every morning that I go out, there is a man at one end of the street or further down the street walking, not going anywhere in particular. He is one of many that has slept in an old house or broke a window to get in somewhere out of the cold. He's not the only one. Those like him, hide when the sun comes out. The homeless shelter is five mile away so they make do with what they can find. This gentleman has mental health issues, and I suspect he's not being treated for them. The mental health administration in this state is sorely lacking in just about everything. No one will pay him any attention until he hurts or kills someone, then he will have the whole county and half of the state in his face. Until then, he is invisible.


Oh, isn't it a serious thing when we bring children into this world, for we don't know where they will end up or how they will end up. We hope for the best, and pray for mercy. I can imagine when this man screamed into the world, someone found joy and love in his tiny face. Someone loved him and wanted good for him. Somewhere along the way something went wrong. I no longer have a son, but this gentleman is someone's son. Perhaps he no longer has a mother. Perhaps there is no one to care.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 17, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

About the geography, Maggie, I have a suspicion the writers (but certainly not McCullouch) just plain made that scene up. Know came in from about due west, and eventually seems to have gotton onto the Old Boston Post Road for the last few miles into Cambridge (so he was much further north and west), as the text below points out:

"Continuing eastward, Knox and his men crossed the border into Massachusetts and struggled on to Springfield. From here both the roads and the weather improved. With 80 yoke of fresh oxen, the expedition passed through Brookfield, Spencer, Leicester, Worcester, Shrewsbury, Northborough, Marlborough, Southborough, Framingham, Wayland, Weston, Waltham, and Watertown. On January 24, 1776, Knox's "noble train of artillery" entered Cambridge.

"Six weeks later, on the night of March 4th, Washington's gun batteries in Cambridge distracted British troops while several thousand Americans quietly maneuvered the artillery up Dorchester Heights and frantically constructed emplacements. Logs painted to look like cannon made it seem as if they had even more firepower than they did."

from http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=29

So Knox and the artillery went from Cambridge to Dorchester Heights, and went nowhere near the Adams farm in Braintree, as near as I can figure out. They simply made it up.

(However, Knox's feat was in fact a tremendous accomplishment, nothwitstanding his inability to use Mapquest.)

Can't help you on the economy question.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 17, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

A little more on the route:

"The route followed modern Route 23 east out of Great Barrington until it intersected Route 20 west of Westfield, then along Route 20 through Springfield, Wilbraham, Palmer and onto Route 9 at Warren, then along Route 9 to Brookfield, Spencer, Leicester, and Worcester. Then the path went back onto Route 20 to Shrewsbury, through Northborough, Marlborough and Southborough. From there it passed Framingham, Wayland, Weston, Waltham, and Watertown, finally entering Cambridge on January 24th, 1776."

"The fifty-six monuments of the Knox Trail commemorate an epic journey of about 56 days from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston. It was by every measure a monumental undertaking, and truly heroic."

from http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/services/KnoxTrail/kthistory.html

Posted by: Anonymous | March 17, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon,
I've never watched one of those movies where Manhattan is affected by tsunami, monster snowstorms, assorted monsters run amuck, or turned into some sort of escape-proof prison. September 2001 was bad enough. The financial crisis needs a good metaphor. A colleague says much of his son's Princeton graduating class was majoring in "financial engineering" or something of the sort. I guess they cheerfully marched off to Manhattan to play Masters of the Universe. Maybe some will now be applying to law school. Med school? I dunno. Lets send Joel to check out this year's crop of grads.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 17, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Tha National Gallery of Art turns 67 seven today. Happy B-Day NGA.

According to the SocSec web site it became eligible for full retirement benefits a year and four months ago (If I did my math correctly).

Posted by: omni | March 17, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Foreigners holding US mutual funds or stocks get the double whammy of your currency depreciation as well. Diversify, diversify, diversify.

I wouldn't try to market time yet, but my guess is the best buying opportunity (now there's a euphemism) will be within the next few months.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 17, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

SCC: i have no idea how the word seven snuck in there.

Posted by: omni | March 17, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, that 2:37 was me, too.

FYI, those d@mned cannon were heavy. Thought I'd get a hernia a couple of times there. (And boy was Henry pi$$ed that time we lost one in the river when the ice was too thin at Half Moon Ferry over the Hudson. We had to go downriver a ways to find thicker ice, at Sloss's Ferry on the Mohawk. And then d@mned if we didn't lose another one the very next day at the ferry at Rensselear. A bunch of people came down from Albany, and we managed to recover it, though.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 17, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

On a quick side note, I have a Boodle-related St. Patrick's day surprise coming on the 10thcircle this afternoon/evening.

Please stand by, folks.

bc

Posted by: bc | March 17, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Dave, Dave, Dave. You poor soul. You've never seen Manhattan destroyed (or otherwise "challenged," to use the modern lingo) by a giant gorilla, or perhaps a tyrannosuarus Rex, or a Godzilla-type mutant reptile? You have been culturally deprived. My first exposure was in 1953, when my family saw "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" at the drive-in. Seems some nuclear experiments in the Arctic (don't ask) went awry, and woke a giant sleeping rhedosaurus, who heads for Ft. Lauderdale on Spring Break. After ravaging bits of Canada and Boston, he comes ashore in Manhattan, runs amok, and (spoiler alert) is finally killed by Lee Van Cleef (you remember him, surely?), who rides to the top of a roller coaster at Coney Island and uses a bazooka to shoot an isotope into a hole in the monster's neck (put there by Kenneth Tobey's artillery a few scenes earlier).

Thanks to this bit of Hollywood lore (based on a Ray Bradbury short story), I and second graders all over the nation became familiar with radioactive isotopes. (And I suspect we stopped nuclear testing in the Arctic after that, too, although the very next year the very same thing happened to the Japanese and Raymond Burr during that whole Godzilla fiasco. Mankind was never meant to tinker with the unknown.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 17, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Those of you wishing to vicariously share in the thrill of moving cannon over rough terrain should check out "The Pride and the Passion" and see Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra compete for the heaving bosoms of Sophia Loren as they all pretend to fight the Peninsular War against Napolean, or the far far superior "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" where viewers are treated to the sight of Spanish conquistadors (speaking German), led by the ever bizarre Klaus Kinski, lugging cannon through the Peruvian jungles to find riches or die. The opening sequence at Machu Picchu is spectacular! If my name wasn't kurosawaguy it would perhaps be herzogguy.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 17, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Maggie O'D-- Sally was his wife's half-sister and also generally in charge of attending his daughter. One wonders how complex that situation was.

The evidence is that either Jefferson or one of his male relatives fathered Sally's children.

My history teacher didn't like Jefferson because he thought his compromise helped lead to the Civil War. He also was part of the dawning of two-party politics in America.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 17, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I thought Mudge was joking...

New York is like a city besieged.A state of emergency has been delcared... and the entire police force put on 24-hour duty. Civilian defense is fully mobolized... and shelters have been opened in an effort to stop the mounting hysteria. All traffic has been halted. And Times Square, the heart of New York, has stopped beating. The National Guard has been called out, fully armed. to repell the invader.This is full-scale war against a terrible enemy... such as mondern man has never before faced. Ordinary bullets have no effect... and a method of destroying the awesome creature... has not yet been formulated. But the battle field has been cleared. Herald Sqaure. 34th Street. Broadway. Every section of the city is guarded. No one knows where the monster will stike next. It was last seen on Wall Street, close to where it came ashore. But lower Manhattan has become no man's land... where the beast, at present, lies hidden. The National Guard is barricading the entire area... in an effort to confine the death and destruction... of what is already the worst disaster in New York's history.


Sound familiar?

Posted by: omni | March 17, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

It sure woulda been nice if southern CA real estate prices could have unbubbled themselves without all the pain and suffering. But it turns out that the availability of foreclosed homes may mean that my sister in San Diego can afford to move herself and her kids to a better school district, where they can maybe find a little buffer from Arnold's huge cuts to the education budget. So there's a little ray of sunshine somewhere.

Cassandra, you made me cry. I don't want to hear ever again that you don't think you're a good writer.

Posted by: bia | March 17, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Jefferson is just one of many many Southern slave holders whose ideas about honor, freedom, dignity, and justice never quite made it into practice in his own life. Robert E. Lee was another. When his wife's father died, Lee as the executor of the will was charged with freeing the 200 or so slaves of the estate, but the will gave him some wriggle room as far as timing, and he delayed for a full five years before freeing them. Those who objected were jailed. Those who fled were pursued, captured, whipped, and sold South.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 17, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Professor Nouriel Roubini at NYU's Stern School of Business is working to keep the monster out of Greenwich Village. http://www.rgemonitor.com/blog/roubini/249924

Actually, I think he's saying that Bear Stearns should have been left behind so the monster would keep busy feasting on its corpse while the forces of credit and solvency regrouped and recovered their Super Powers.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 17, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

The super hero we really need is that mythic creature, the one-armed economist.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 17, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Sad news... any hopes of an ABBA reunion are dashed now...

http://www.eonline.com/news/article/index.jsp?uuid=f1adf541-1dec-4305-af90-e449e9fea534&entry=index&sid=rss_topstories&utm_source=eonline&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=rss_topstories

Posted by: TBG | March 17, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

omni, I never joke about rhedosauruses running amok in major metropolitan areas until Lee Van Cleef shoots isotopes at them from a roller coaster. Some things are just too important, too sacred.

Well, sometimes, maybe.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 17, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

FYI -- and nobody has yet commented upon it -- but I love the way Joel has introduced the verb form "to spitzer" into the lexicon. Well done, sir!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 17, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

nice blogging, as usual, mr. joel. in thinking about your concerns as to why our government might want to bail out a securities trading company, i wondered to myself, "do those securities/investment types vote republican?"

as opposed to say...the commoners in new orleans, where the government response took a little bit longer.

Posted by: butlerguy | March 17, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

And the definition of "to spitzer" is "to fatally shoot oneself in the foot by generally stupid behavior." Or something like that, right Mudge?

Posted by: slyness | March 17, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

This might be interesting for those of you with rhubarb in the garden.

http://nymag.com/restaurants/recipes/inseason/45079/

Posted by: CB | March 17, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes, that's about right, Slyness. I think I would add the element of speed: to spitzer something is to do it extremely quickly, overnight or over the weekend.
The Monica Lewinsky scandal, for instance fails to be a Spitzer event on several grounds. NJ Mayor McGreevy spitzered himself, methinks, as did Mark Foley, yet Larry Craig did not.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 17, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Today's NY Times story on that construction crane collapse near 2nd Avenue mentioned that the developer is a retired firefighter. That sounded familiar--I thought the Times had run a story on a firefighter who'd become a developer in his spare time. Turns out it's the same person:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C05E1DE133CF933A15754C0A9659C8B63&scp=5&sq=james+kennelly+firefighter&st=nyt
The story's from July 20, 2003.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 17, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Speed's the important distinction which makes it a spitzer event, wouldn't you say, Mudge? There is also a strong element of schadenfreude.

Posted by: slyness | March 17, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, slyness.

Gotta run for the bus now.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 17, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

i would offer the following definition of "to spitzer oneself":

to torpedo one's entire career, organization, and/or personal fortune with both tremendous speed and thoroughness.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | March 17, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

schadenfreude is a great word.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | March 17, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Brava, LA Lurker. I would add, because of thoroughly stupid behavior.

We'll have this verb in the OED by the end of the year!

Posted by: slyness | March 17, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

CB; I am the goddess of rhubarb. I thank you. I salute you. Your knighthood or ladyship is in the mail.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 17, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

All, here's a St. Patrick's Day surprise from RD Padouk [and facilitated by me]:

RD Padouk's St. Patrick's Day Parade of Redheads

http://www.10thcircle.com/10/?p=232

Click on the names to see if you see what RD sees...

bc

Posted by: bc | March 17, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

You know what I wonder about? Director's Liability. If Bear Stearns' shares were trading at between $20 and $30 on Friday (which they were) and JP Morgan offered $2/share after trading closed (which they did), what the heck sort of information was the share-buying public being offered in the run-up to the fire sale? You think the Bear Stearn's board was honest about how close to bankruptcy the bank was?

Posted by: Yoki | March 17, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

yoki, i read somewhere that the situation you just described will inevitably result in lawsuits.

updated definition of "to spitzer oneself"

to torpedo one's entire career, organization, and/or personal fortune with tremendous speed and thoroughness as a result of stupid behavior and arrogance, which consequently leads to schadenfreude on the part of adversaries and casual observers alike.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | March 17, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Clouds are hard, but Wall Street is harder.

I feel like an economics nimcompoop. Can't we just discuss high-energy physics instead? Music and literature? Bending spoons by the forces of our minds?

Right now, I think most people around here are focused on trying to melt snow by the force of their minds rather than worrying about the stock market.

It's day 5 of a thaw and the snow is getting down to an average thickness of around 4 inches. Grass is becoming visible. Two more days of this, and we may find our garden again under all that snow. That would be a good Easter gift for us to sit down and watch our rhubarb grow.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 17, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

My feeling on the Bear Stearns situation is this--If they had been in this perdicament 2 years ago, I think in all likelyhood the powers that be would have just watched them sink and say "tsk, tsk". However, in this overheated time of rampant fear in the financial markets as well as in the country, the failure of a major Wall Street firm could have kindled a real panic. The current situation is tough, but not really dire yet. But there is the possibility of a domino effect that could have really hammered the world economy. The insider knowledge stuff may come out, but ultimately it was probably the right thing to do at this point in time.

Posted by: ebtnut | March 17, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Bia

I'm sorry you cried, but so do I, and so much of the time, I stifle those hurts. Yet they never really go away. I'll try not to say that again.

Ivansmom, the g-girl is too perky. I'm ready for mom to get here. Strep throat has not slowed her down one bit.

I've been outside raking leaves and trying to get my little space ready for something. What, I don't know. There's some stuff already here, and that just might be it for me. I have these big plans, but implementing them is another thing.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 17, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Uh-oh, comedians are first-hand witnesses to Hillary's foreign policy experience now. This does not bode well.
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/sleuth/2008/03/sinbad_unloads_on_hillary_clin.html

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 17, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Have you seen this?

http://www.barelypolitical.com/barely-political-uncovered/episode/ShamrockObama_20080314

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 17, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

No, no, Cassandra, don't stifle, at least not on my account. Crying over the sorrows in the world is sometimes just what needs doing. I'm glad you're here on the Boodle to wake us up (in more ways than one).

Posted by: bia | March 17, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I sure wish I understood it, Maggie O'D, other than the O'Bama pun.

Erin go barack!

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 17, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I hope you had a sweater on when you were raking. I've been cold all day myself; I suppose I didn't put on enough clothes this morning.

I wish I knew the answer for homelessness. Better mental health services would help; affordable housing would be useful. But how do we go about helping people to be productive members of society when they have so many problems? And they don't wish to help themselves?

Today, one of the members of my study group told of being accosted at the library one day last week by a person who demanded money. She was so shook up she handed him $5 without thinking about it. Others shared similar experiences. One woman, who is a retired social worker, says often these people have exhausted the services available to them and have no resources at all.

My church is in an urban area, and we have learned from sad experience that we have to be careful. Clothes intended for children were stolen a couple of years ago; last summer, the collection was stolen out of the collection plates one Sunday.

We provide funding for the homeless shelter, and we participate in the room in the inn program, where we have a bed, food, and showers for ten homeless men once a week during the winter months. Earlier this year, we provided housing for a group of homeless women and children, because the center couldn't accommodate all those who had needs. It was the right thing to do, but not nearly enough.

But...we must keep trying.

Posted by: slyness | March 17, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

You're right, Wilbrod, I just watched it with the sound off. Beyond the word play, there's not much more there.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 17, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure glad someone figured out the Knox route to Dorchester (earlier today while I was at work and unable to respond). I assumed it was poetic license that took them thru Braintree. However, if they were trying to negotiate around Boston these days, they might well have given up altogether and we'd still be Brits. We don't have HBO so we missed the show. We both read the book tho' and enjoyed it.

Every time I see that headline that the White House is "on top of" the economic situation, I get more scared for my retirement. What haven't these clowns screwed up?

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | March 17, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

bc;

Ya had me worried there... Visions of leprechauns in gladiator outfits with FMPs and all... *shudder*

Well done, RDP, well done indeed, sir.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 17, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Slyness

I don't know what can be done. And you're right, so much of the time services have been exhausted, and nothing is left, but doing the wrong thing. And that is never a good choice. The homeless shelter here is so far away, and then there is the chance it may not be open. I think they only stay open during the hard winter months. I'm not really sure. Sometimes the homeless will stay in the library most of the day. One can't really run them out because it is a public facility. Of course, that doesn't mean it's a place for crime. Much of the time, homeless individuals that have problems don't want to do what is needed to address those problems, and if it is a case of mental illness, one cannot really force it until they do something to hurt themselves or the public. We had a soup kitchen here, but that was closed because it lacked funding. Which only makes the situation even more desperate.

I had a sweater on, Slyness, because it has been chilly here most of the day. The sun was out, but looks were deceiving.

Bia

Thank you for the lovely compliment. God is good to me, and to us all. God wants us to love Him and His Son, Jesus, and many of us would rather do something else.

The body is tired, the spirit slightly drooping. Time to turn in. Will try to watch the new HBO program, but I like the new series, In Treatment. The therapist in this show is more whacked out than his patients.

Good night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 17, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

This was a fine tribute to readheadness Mr. Padouk. You centered your piece on famous ones, myself I tend to fall for the ones briefly encountered on the street, in the bus, the shopping center.
I'm happy to see the compassionate conservative coming to the rescue of the poor people at BS. The floor fell from under them Friday and a plan is in place the next Sunday. Th good people of New Orleans are in a good position to appreciate the progress this administration has made in responsiveness over the last couple of years.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 17, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Scottynuke. It was fun to do, and I thank bc for asking.

Let me stress that in addition to bc's guidance, I also received some invaluable help from a talented and thoughtful editor who wished to remain anonymous. Nevertheless, this person saved me from myself at several places.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 17, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

sd - Thanks! I have been known to become momentarily transfixed by such women as well.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 17, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

sd - Thanks. I have been known to become momentarily transfixed by such women as well.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 17, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

sd - Thanks! I have been known to become momentarily transfixed by such women as well.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 17, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

bc, reading this and breathing a certain sigh of relief.

I'm shocked RD has not seen Alyson Hannigan as Willow on Buffy. I suspect he'll be an instant fan, as she combined a certain waifness with startling power.
Alas, Willow turned out to only like werewolves and women and other things that start with a W. Grief-stricken Evil Willow is also worth a watch, too.

My list of notable redhead actresses would have included Katharine Helmond, Lucille Ball and a few others.

Katherine Helmond did excellent as Jessica Tate in Soap, easily stealing scenes from Billy Crystal playing her gay son, she's good. However, she spent 30 years becoming a success, working as a drama teacher to make ends meet.

So we don't have her in well-known roles when she was as young as the other red-head actresses I could think of.

I got to give her props for making all her roles considerably spicier and funnier.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001340/bio

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 17, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

sorry about the triple post. Darn interweb thingy.

Yep, Wilbrod, Alyson Hannigan as Willow is something I've only read about. Buffy was never something we watched.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 17, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I hope you're feeling better soon. g-girl, too.

Scottynuke, glad you enjoyed RD's bevy of Testa Rossas (and not one Italian, IIRC).

RD, you're more than welcome. Thank *you* for writing it, and for letting me host it.

bc

Posted by: bc | March 17, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to think that the boodle is a sort of writer's corner. NIce work, RD, bc and your editor, and to you also, cassandra.

Posted by: jack | March 17, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Rd and Bc, how fun and such a surprise. I was expecting rish car racers and physicists or something that-which you two bold boys could do quite nicely.

Dinner of rashers (thick bacon) and scones. That would be fancy tea time in a Wexford house on this day of St. Padraig.

But the skim milk is all wrong; should be thick non-pasteurized non homogenized full milk. Alas. We shall be saved from the likes of clotted arteries.

My granny's bizarre and wondrous declamation:

Lord Save us Dick Davis
Don't eat us for a couple of raw potatoes.

At this site, http://www.irish-sayings.com/cats/irishwords/

you can hear several phrases including a choice one, in three of the four accents. The one I would know, Leinster, is not featured. The Connact one would be closest. The northern one sounds very strange to me, you yall might recognize Liam Neeson's voice in the Ulster choice.

On the 19th is St. Joseph's day; so calling all Italians for that one. Get the stature ready for hoisting up and carrying down the street. Shall we prepare gnocchi?

Posted by: College Parkian | March 17, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

RD, I never saw Buffy until it ended and I started watching it in syndication. It's much better written than you'd think. Although those quotes may not be representative.

"I knew it! I knew it! Well, not "knew it" in the sense of having the slightest idea, but I knew there was something I didn't know." -- Willow.

"Goody! Research party!" - Willow.
"Will, you need a life in the worst way." --Xander

"I'm not ashamed. It's the computer age. Nerds are in. They're still in, right?" -- Willow

"Just sitting here watching our barren lives pass us by. Oh, look, a cockroach." *stomp* -- Willow

Life is a neck. Drink deep.-- Willow.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 17, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching Rome (Brit version) on History Channel in the TV window and got warned against nudity, extremely coarse language and explicit $exual acts. Who knew HC would become my favourite TV sation?
RDP, I had a redhead encounter of a different kind today. Got an e-mail from the IT departmeent about changing my worktation computer and monitor this afternoon (greatly overdued: not a single stinking UBS port on it). It was signed by someone with a verrrry scottish name. Think Mike Myers' All thing Scottish in SNL. The giant red-head kid that showed up later to do the switch was a living scottish cliché. Must be hard on him. Not that people would laugh at him, at his face anyway.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 17, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

bc, when will you be reviewing this car?

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/aptera-hybrid.htm

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 17, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

if anyone feels like watching something uplifting, the enthusiastic ovation at the swearing in of gov. david patterson is fun to watch. l.a. times has it as one of the videos on the front page.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | March 17, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, CP.

I'd add that RD and I are both Italian, as are many others here in the Boodle.

And I'm willing to save my appetite until St. Joseph's, and I bet RD is, too.

jack, the Boodle is indeed a bit of a writers' corner. Many of us are or have been involved with the media professionally, teach, or simply write for enjoyment. Or some combination of the above.

I suppose I should add that it's as much a reader's corner as a writer's. I'd embarass myself if I confessed to you how many periodicals and books I were currently reading...

bc

Posted by: bc | March 17, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

bc, in this place, the embarrassment is if one is *not* reading multiple books and periodicals. I learn so much here, that I desperately need to know!

Do you think the Gene Pool is going to catch on? I'm not so impressed, so far.

Posted by: slyness | March 17, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Very fun to read, RD....the hubby has a similar fascination with redheads, Gillian Anderson and Julianne Moore being tops on his list. I had to laugh about what you wrote regarding the characteristics that we think are important until we meet Mr. or Miss Right! I'm short and blonde, not willowy and redheaded, the hubby is tall, short hair,with a very conservative appearance. I always went for the longish haired bad boys in my youth (for those of you who watch "Lost"- think Sawyer) and the hubby had two redheaded girlfriends before me. We actually met in an Irish bar in MD. He was working there in the summers during law school and I was working there during nursing school. Voila! No more redheads, no more bad boys!

Anyway, Happy St. Paddy's day everyone. No green beer for me, have to be up before dawn. Now, in the days of working in that Irish bar, I would have had about 3 (maybe 4) green Bombay and Tonics by now and the morrow, well that would take care of itself!

Posted by: Kim | March 17, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

The Gene Pool is slavishly on topic and frightfully boring. It may catch on though, no accounting for taste.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 17, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I think the Gene Pool is a hit, even if it's not my cuppa tea (I can't believe I'm saying that).

It *is* different from the Boodle - as it should be - and we've had three years for this to evolve into... whatever it is. The Gene Pool's had what - maybe three weeks?

The GP comment tools and format aren't my cuppa tea either, but I've seen far worse.

Back onto Spitzer for a second (er, sorry), let's file this WaPo article under "You Get What You Pay For."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/16/AR2008031602168.html

I knew I bought premium gas for a reason.
It makes my car feel better (yes, I know there are good reasons to use premium gas besides my car's state of mind).

bc

Posted by: bc | March 17, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Money Changers & the Mortgage Industry.

I am not happy!

http://www.boomerinthepew.com/2008/03/money-changers.html

Posted by: David Porter | March 17, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Jack, dmd, mostlylurking, cassandra ... howdy.

We're on spring break here, Jack. Silly me had the kids write on Friday, so now I have their papers to grade this week. It's going okay. I'm only mildly frazzled.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 17, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

It's really good to see you, Bayou Self. I hope you're enjoying your spring break despite the papers to grade. Don't be such a stranger.

Posted by: TBG | March 17, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Interesting who pays for the idiocy of the subprine mess. Not the high execs of Bear Stearns. At most, their severance package will be someshat light.

I hope Bear Stearns is an outlier on the risk spectrum. If not, I got some pencils for sale.

Posted by: bill everything | March 17, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, bc. I consider myself fortunate to have become a participant in this corner of the 'net. I was helping my daughter format a Powerpoint tonight and had to try and answer a question she had about punctuation on a slide. I couldn't come up with one readily and suddenly blurted out: "Semicolon!" I then admonished myself for falling victim to the dreaded run on semicolon and wished for handy access here for advice.

My MIL is home and doing well. Thanks for all of the positive vibes.

Don't grade too many papers at one time, Bayou. I get punchy after about two hours.

Posted by: jack | March 17, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Jack, I like semicolons; they're pointy-sciency.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 17, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry about the BS CEO, bill. He's been compensated at something like 160M/yr for a while and has a 50/50 chance of landing a position with JPMC. It's amazing that such failure even has its rewards.

Posted by: jack | March 17, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

If I was fluent in ASL and had to sign that aforementioned Powerpoint, it'd be pointy-sciency all over the place. I would have to wear the scarlet letter for bad punctuation.

Posted by: jack | March 17, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

RD, interesting perspective. Always cool to see beauty from someone else's perspective. But I gotta ask...This Parade of Redheads...is it a passing parade, complete with floats and Shriners in little cars?

Posted by: LostInThought | March 17, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I think the Gene Pool is trying too hard. It may improve with time. The Boodle is like, organic, man. Totally.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 17, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Canuckistanis! You have a reality show called "Canada's Next Great Prime Minister" hosted by Rick Mercer!!?? Have to say you do things right. Instead of a one hour, once a year, special our networks would drag it out over months. If our reality shows were half as cerebral that is. Can't wait to see it.

G'night all. Early meeting tomorrow and I fear the roads will be slicker 'n snot.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 18, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Ah,so ends another fabulous Green day.I am sure everyone felt at least a little Irish today.

I really enjoyed your piece on Redheads RD,Congrats to you,bc and the mystery editor.....really nice work.

LiT, I always like parades,but remember Always put the animals near the end of the parade.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 18, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Watched "Across the Universe" tonight with #2 son and hubby. Just in the nick of time. It is wonderfully directed and musically produced. Please watch it. I'll definitely watch it again and again. It puts a face on the incredible Beatles music that spans the generations. Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Oh yeah.

I'm back on track. :-)

Posted by: eidrib | March 18, 2008 12:49 AM | Report abuse

GWE--I wore a bright green sweater set with white pearls. In honor of my grandmother and great-grandmother. And stoppped by an Irish pub over the weekend.

And we sang... may you be in heaven for three days before the devil knows you're dead.

Posted by: eidrib | March 18, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

That's great eidrib, i was talking to the little girl I worked with tonight about "Across the Universe" little, maybe I should say young just 24 and she knows not what great music the Beatles produced. I'm going to burn her a few cds in the next few days. My favorites, Rubber Soul,Abbey road,heck I think they are all my favorites.

Goodnight boodle

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 18, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

"I guess there's an upside for you, the low-rent hucksters are going to see a surge in income after years of losing out to Wall Street.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 17, 2008 01:58 PM "

Frosty, thanks for giving me hope. The current bridge inventory is unparalleled in the modern world--or in the ancient--and inventory taxes has been a real hassle! Now is the time to ensure your financial future! Greatest deals since Flem Snopes sold his spotted ponies! RD, we've upped your credit rating to AA! That means you, too, can leverage your investment 28-fold! See our web site!

Apropos tune of the day (or era):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jjdowef1oKE

Posted by: Anonymous | March 18, 2008 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Kim: //Voila! No more redheads, no more bad boys! //

Kim, you've forgotten the beagle. :-)

Posted by: dbG | March 18, 2008 2:59 AM | Report abuse

\\ ...why were people as late as Friday afternoon still buying Bear Stearns stock as investors dumped it?

1. There are investors who are inherently gamblers. Since they don't know how dire BS's financial situation was, they were betting on the firm not going under and return to its previous glory.

2. Their broker or BS weren't frank about BS's financial situation. There were all kinds of rumours and speculations flying around.

I bet pepto-bismol (Is the product still around?)is selling very well around Wall Street area right now.

Posted by: rainforest | March 18, 2008 4:08 AM | Report abuse

It does look like the Fed is bailing out the big guys who got into trouble because they were asking for it. But it really isn't. The people (although nobody really knows who they are) who own financial instruments in BS's books are also people who own businesses. Their company's cash flow depends on the liquidity these instruments provide. All the small guys' salaries in these companies also depend on that liquidity. This rescue plan protects the small guys who don't even realize they are at risk.

The Fed is worried about inflation and unemployment. There is a perfect storm brewing - hedge fund and derivative failures, financial institutions writing off unbelievable figures, subprime mortgage meltdown and credit crisis. To let BS default on all its financial instruments would lead to a financial meltdown of unprecedented proportions and the country would be staring depression in the face. It would create a financial tsunami felt round the globe.

Posted by: rainforest | March 18, 2008 4:26 AM | Report abuse

Financial Engineering : I think the present financial situation is caused by that.

Posted by: rainforest | March 18, 2008 4:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey Bayou Self! *faxin' a new red pen* :-)

*slapping forehead* Geez, we have a new pressure cooker, and I forgot to get corned beef & cabbage yesterday!!! :-O

Everyone drive slowly this morning once you get near your various downtowns... Watch out for the "Pub Crawl X-ing" signs.

*wondering-if-the-cafeteria-will-have-leftover-green-items-today Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 18, 2008 5:12 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Scotty, the corn beef and cabbage sounds good. Mudge, where are you? I miss not seeing you in the morning, well at least reading you in the morning.

Eugene Robinson has a good take on the financial mess on Wall Street. He's asking why aren't the candidates having more of an input in this situation. A good question. They're possibly going to have to clean up this mess. We should hear how they're going to do it. This is serious stuff. Of course, no one wants to delve in this because it just might change some minds, and then, folks don't really want to know. They would rather hear some stuff that is old hat, until their money gets gone. And then, the screams and the blame game.

Obama is suppose to be in the Carolinas today I think. Is that correct Slyness? I think Charlotte is his destination.

Slyness
I for one, think perhaps Clinton is ignoring us. I haven't heard of anything she's doing here in North Carolina. Have you?

Martooni, Slynes, Mudge, come on folks, help me out here. Morning to all.*waving*

Frosti, had to laugh at your description of the road.

The g-girl will be here this morning. Mom has to work so my day has been planned for me. I know she is going to want to go to the park. And when other kids show up we have to leave, and then she is so upset. I told her we don't want to make the kids sick, and she can come back when she is better. That does not really help because she just wants to play. Yesterday when we started to leave, she just sat down and held her head in her hands, and looked vicious. I wanted to laugh, but then she started to cry. Kids are so endearing sometimes when trying to express their feelings.

Have a great day, folks. And you can do that because we have a mighty friend that has died for us all, and He takes away that guilt when we accept Him. Jesus, that Name that is above every name.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 18, 2008 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Cassandra. I'm ready for Mudge to get his Internet connection at home fixed, I miss his commentary in the morning and on weekends. Mudge, what can we do to assist in this project?

Good lord, thanks for reminding me about Obama's visit. I'll have to make sure to avoid the area. I wouldn't have minded going but the tickets were gone in a couple of hours, so I heard.

Anyway, Mr. T is going to be a pallbearer in his aunt's funeral this afternoon, so we have to be on the road to his hometown by 11. This aunt was 85 and had not known she was in the world for six years. In her case, death is a real blessing.

Posted by: slyness | March 18, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, I hope this afternoon will be a proper celebration of his aunt's life. *HUGS*

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 18, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

rainforest - Thanks very much for your excellent analysis. You remind me how interconnected and complex fiduciary relationships can be.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 18, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

slyness - I know what you mean about being a blessing. But it is still hard to say that last goodbye. Best thoughts to you.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 18, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everybody. I seem to have fallen behind. There is something about not sitting at a computer all day...

I'm going to take a couple weeks as holiday before I think about anything serious, but I'll tell you, this whole financial mess makes me want to go buy legumes. Invest in legumes I say, cause you can't eat gold. So far the Canadian economy is ok. So long as the rest of us stay stable, there is hope for your economy.

Slyness, my condolences, and Cassandra, give that sweet g-girl a hug for me. I feel exactly like that sometimes.

Posted by: dr | March 18, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Slyness

Good thoughts your way, Slyness, for the aunt. I had an aunt that was that way for almost twenty years. She was in nursing homes all across the state. She even went to the hospital in Greensboro where they send terminally ill patients, but they had to transfer her because she did not meet the criteria. She died in a nursing home in Raleigh,NC many years later.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 18, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

dr

I will do that. I know exactly what you mean.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 18, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.
Slyness, my thoughts are with you and your family today.

I agree that letting BS fail at this point in time could trigger a significant wave of finanical disorder across the globe.

I still expect the Fed to cut rates today, DotC. Wish I'd bet ya lunch on that (a dollar meal, naturally).

Also, isn't Obama to deliver an address regarding race in Philly today?

Cassandra, I hope all is well with you, g-girl, and her mom today.

A parade of Redheads in the Shrinermobiles - that's a funny image, LiT. Imagining Gillian Anderson in a fez, that's funny too.

A busy day for me, I'll have to catch up to the Boodle later...

bc

Posted by: bc | March 18, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

RDP, I can't recommend Buffy strongly enough. It's disguised as a drama. But is really a comedy. The creator is Josh Whedon. Who also gave us Firefly and Serenity. And you've heard many of us rave about that series and movie.

Something no one has mentioned is that besides being a redheaded lesbian, Willow is also a witch. But in a good way.

Posted by: omni | March 18, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

New Kit

Posted by: omni | March 18, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

general test

Posted by: Bob Greiner | March 31, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Test: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/achenblog/2008/03/the_bear_stearns_market.html

Posted by: Bob Greiner | March 31, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

<a href='http://travelviaje-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/faleton.html'd.html

Posted by: brylane | April 4, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

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