Monthly Archives: July 2013

I Can Has First Page!

They Has to Rest Before the 3 AM Mayhem

IBKC_NapBreak

LoL by: two_kittehs

Another first page lol on the ICHC/lolcats, it is my fourth first page with the IBKC theme. You can find my other FP Lols here.

I can has forever home?

orville

Lol by two_kittehs Photo (Saira)

 

This beautiful tuxedo kitty was rescued in Manhattan and needs a forever home. Details here

Inside Job

I finally saw the Inside Job , Charles Ferguson’s documentary about the financial meltdown this weekend. Review coming up shortly. The best part of the documentary, is the part where Ferguson exposes the incestuous relationship between academic finance and the  financial services industry.

The Story Behind Schroedinger’s Cat

h946660D9

LoL by: two_kittehs (Picture by: DiogoBohm)

Larry Summers: Do Not Want

Larry_Summer_DNW

Let me add my voice to the growing chorus that thinks that Larry Summers,  is the wrong choice to head the Fed.   We have all heard of Summer’s brilliance, but his judgment leaves much to be desired. That he is a pompous misogynist is the least of his sins. He was the architect of the Obama Administration’s pivot to austerity, even now he is worried about inflation not unemployment. During the Clinton era he was one the prime architects behind the deregulation of the financial sector, he also led the charge against Brooksley Born, who wanted to the regulate derivatives.  Have we learnt nothing? Why do we want this man in charge of the monetary policy?

No Newspaper for Math Whizzes

New York Times: EPIC FAIL

EPIC_FAIL NYT

Comic by: two_kittehs/Photo Credits New York Times

The other day I was lamenting about the lack of basic arithmetic skills among the reporters and pundits writing for the nation’s finest newspapers and other media outlets. Nate Silver and Paul Krugman at the New York Times were the two prominent exceptions to this sad state of affairs.  However their superior mathematical and analytical abilities have not made them many friends among their fellow media denizens. Vilifying Nate Silver was a favorite past time among many innumerate pundits last election season. Silver’s model predicted  an Obama win throughout the election season. A  fact disputed by the horse race loving Beltway media. Now we hear that he was none too popular at the offices of the Grey Lady herself.

So it should come as no surprise that Nate Silver has decided to pack up his 538 blog and go back to analyzing baseball.  He will still analyze politics during election season for ABC. Will be fun to see George BowTie Will’s head explode on live television. As for New York Times letting Silver go, and keeping on the likes of  Tom Friedman and David Brooks to continue their tortured fact-free blathering is why you are losing your readership. Paul Krugman, I hope you are not the next.

Financial Crisis, Five Years Later

Big banks are awash in record profits   almost five years after the collapse of Lehmann brothers in the September of 2008.  Lehmann’s bankruptcy set of a  chain of events that led to a credit crisis and a meltdown of the financial markets, which in turn led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. I want to use the upcoming five year anniversary of Lehmann’s bankruptcy to revisit the crisis and it aftermath,  I plan to focus on these points in particular;

  • Banking sector and its role in the capital markets
  • Regulatory Regime
  • The perspectives of theoretical finance and macroeconomics
  • Overview of the academic literature
  • Overview of the mainstream press (Wall Street Journal, Forbes,  Business Section of New York Times, popular books etc.)
  • Focus on what is still missing from the above analysis and questions that still remain unanswered
  • Suggestions to avoid a similar catastrophe

This is a tentative outline and the list may undergo changes depending on the results of my explorations. If you think there is any aspect that is not in my list but would be interesting to look at, please leave it in the comments.

Mercury Rising

Snow_in_February

 

The oppressive heat continues, it is going to be in the mid to upper nineties until Friday, I actually miss winter.

Economist does not understand percentages

Econ_Cat

LoL by: two_kittehs

Or if he does, he thinks that his readers are too stupid to understand them.  I am used to reading mathematically illiterate analysis from many economic and finance bloggers and reporters for major media outlets.  But this lack of understanding coming from a tenured economics professor from one of leading state universities is surprising.

Another week, another opinion piece about India and China. In the very first paragraph Professor Bardhan compares the projected growth rates of India, China and some developed countries.  This comparison is disingenuous, for two reasons

1. Telling us how much the GDP of a country will grow, without giving us the last year’s GDP is giving us incomplete information at best and at worst it is painting a false picture.  Comparing percentages make sense when the numbers we want to compare are roughly of the same magnitude. US economy was double the Chinese economy and thirty seven times bigger than the Indian economy, according to the GDP figures of 2012.

Let me illustrate my point by giving you an extremely simple example, if I start a small business, and my earnings were $20,000 in the first quarter and $40,000 in the second, quarterly growth rate of my earnings was 100% , so does that mean that I am doing better than Wal-Mart with a quarterly growth rate of just  10%.  You will tell me that my comparison is meaningless.

2. Even if you argue that comparing GDP across nations is a worthwhile exercise, when India’s economy is smaller than that of Italy, a more relevant statistic would be GDP per person or per capita GDP not just raw GDP. If you compare that statistic, things don’t seem that rosy for either India or China compared to the US.  US is 11th   globally in GDP per capita. China was ranked 86th while India did not even finish in the top 100.

I reiterate my point from my earlier post comparing India and China, this non-stop drum beat of the higher growth rates in India and China are for domestic consumption, to create a climate more favorable to the race to the bottom.  If you don’t pay workers a pittance, shred the safety net and pollute the environment US will lose its preeminent position. A preeminent position, where only the top 1% population see gains while the income for almost everybody else remains flat.

* For GDP data click here and for GDP/capita here.

A Tribute to Tunch Kitteh of Balloon Juice

Tunch_kitteh

LoL by: two_kittehs (Picture by: John G. Cole)

Tunch is no more. I still can’t believe it and I miss him though I have never seen him. I first clicked on Balloon Juice during the 2008 election cycle following a link from Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish. I came for the commentary, smart, funny and incisive but stayed for Tunch. The magnificent white kitteh with flaming orange tail, was Balloon Juice’s Ceiling Cat. I was an unabashed Tunch fan demanding Tunch photos and Tunch cams. He never failed to bring a smile to my face.  I will miss him and his cattitude.   {{{{John}}}*elebenty. Headbonks and purrs to you furry fella, wherever you are.

I leave you with one of my all time favorite Tunch posts.