So I haven’t really talked about this at all, but you know what? Fuck the bailout. For the past few weeks, while yes, I am scared about the economy, the idea that the Americans who were ROYALLY fucked over by the private banking industry would actually be pulling $700 Billion out of our OWN pockets to help the irresponsible businesses that fucked us over in the first place has made me irreconcilably furious. OK ok, yes, no one wants the entire economy to crash. But. Dammit, these assholes got themselves into this mess. I remember a year or so ago hearing about these subprime mortgage bundles that were selling like hotcakes on wall street from a friend who worked in finance and thinking “well THAT seems like a bad idea.” If I knew then, how could they not have? And why should WE have to pay for their mistakes? Maybe it’s because I just keep thinking of that Enron movie, where you can hear tape of the asshole traders chortling to themselves as they royally screw over the California energy customers. Or how I keep thinking about the people who’ll be losing their houses whether or not we bailout AIG. Or about how those banks didn’t seem to care when people had to declare bankruptcy and lost everything based on their shitty subprime loans. OR it could be because I don’t have a 401K and so didn’t have so much to lose from the banks failing in the firstplace. But if we’re in this mess because of a shitty system, why should we be working so hard to shore up that system and make it continue running? Shouldn’t we let them declare bankruptcy, or loan them money on very strict conditions? I’m sorry but the idea that we’d just give businesses who obviously make CRAPPY INVESTMENT DECISIONS a blank check just seems like a horrible one. Blame me if anyone actually listens and we all go bankrupt anyways. But what do I care, either way I’m still broke.
While I disagree with Ms. Savestheday, I think this rant is incredibly insightful as to what’s brought so many of us to the point of essentially saying “fuck you, Wall Street.” And why so many calls were pouring in to Congressional offices opposing the bailout. Basically, we’ve been getting fucked, not just by Wall Street, but our entire economic system, since about 2001 and we’re sick of it.
I’ve completely lost all rationality. I hope every one of those shit eating Wall Street collie molesters loses their shirts. I don’t care of it’s class warfare, I don’t want them getting my money. -MATC
As many of you readers know, NDTiger is a NDNation.com contributor who likes to write letters. He finally received a response to his letter to Pepsi. Please to enjoy:
The economy is crumbling and Notre Dame is a now a feckless sham of an institution, but it’s still a great day for NDTiger. First the original letter:
700 Anderson Hill Road Purchase, NY, 10577 (914) 253-2000 Massimo F. d’Amore Chief Executive Officer
Dear Mr. d’Amore
I am writing to express my many years of thanks for the quality products the Pepsi-Cola Company has delivered into my home. With the exception of Pepsi Max (I eschew all ginseng by-products), I have tried all of your beverages. My favorite throughout the years, however, has always been Crystal Pepsi.
I am sure you receive many letters imploring you to reinstate Crystal Pepsi, and I won’t waste your time with such a useless request. I understand the nature of business and, unfortunately, Crystal Pepsi had its chance at market viability. On that note, however, I would like to offer you a business proposition.
If it suits the Pepsi-Cola Company, I would like to enter into a contract whereas your company installs a small factory line capable of producing the original Crystal Pepsi formula specifically for my personal consumption. I am willing to cover whatever initial conversion costs this start-up will incur, up to $250,000.00 (Two-hundred and fifty-thousand dollars). After that, I will pay $300.00 (Three-hundred dollars) for each case of syrup you deliver to my residence. I will supply my own soda-fountain machine. To give you an idea of future production needs, my records from 1993 suggest I will need a new case every 11 days. At the present time, I foresee no drop in this demand until my death in an estimated 35 years from now.
Please let me know as soon as possible if this deal has a chance and I will forward you to my legal counsel for final negotiations and contractual harrumphing. I would like to move forward quickly, though, so I may have my Crystal Pepsi machine up and running in time for the Super Bowl. It would really make my party sparkle (pun intended!).
Reclined in waiting, NDTiger
Now the response….
Pepsi-Cola Company September 24, 2008
Dear Mr. NDTiger,
Thank you for taking the time to contact the Pespi-Cola Company regarding Crystal Pepsi. Your letter sent to senior management has been forwarded to my attention with a request to personally respond.
It was a pleasure to read your letter and we value your kind words about our products. It was very generous of you to also share your proposal with us and we certainly appreciate your loyalty to our brand. While we feel honored, this is not something that would be at all possible. As you already know, Crystal Pepsi has been discontinued and there are no current plans to reintroduce it at this time. This is a formula licensed exclusively by Pepsi and not for individual sale or production. Please know however, we are truly flattered by your offer, nonetheless.
Although you may be disappointed by our response regarding your entrepreneurial endeavor, we thank you for thinking of us. I have taken the liberty of enclosing some special items to help you remember us here at Pepsi. We consider ourselves fortunate to count you among our valued friends!
Sincerely, Robin Harris Senior Consumer Relations Representative Included was a Pepsi t-shirt big enough for Sam Young and two coupons for a FREE 2-liter AND 12-pack of either bottles or cans. Somewhere, deep in my memory and heart, a young boy rides his bike through the Maple Lane neighborhood to the old G.L. Perry Variety Store and buys a Crystal Pepsi from the pop machine out front. This one’s for you, kid.
“I, perhaps unconsciously, observe women to try and determine how they want to be treated. When I see girls at a party who seemingly have no self-control, I’ll admit that it’s really tough to visualize them as ‘ladies.’ It’s as if they, solely through their own actions, have lowered my expectations, lowered my standards of behavior.”—
Including this quote is where she loses her entire argument. We all bear responsibility for how we treat others. Trying to construct some sort of mitigation argument that “I only treated this person as well as I thought she wanted/deserved to be treated” is utter bullshit. If this young man (again, from the University of Michigan, stay classy guys) treats a woman badly, that’s on him not her. The author excuses abusive male behavior while criticizing abusive female behavior, which is why her piece is a bunch of crap.
A., I read this and could not help but think of you. Please to enjoy.
Hey, you. Yeah, you… The guy in the tattered Colgate Lacrosse hat sitting at the computer killing a hangover, reading shit like this when you’re supposed to dropping and adding courses for your senior year. You don’t know what you’re going to do with your life when you graduate, do you? Accountant? Too boring. Doctor? No chance at that with a Poli-Sci major and a 3.1 GPA. Finance? Good luck getting hired in this market.
I know what you’re thinking… Law school, right?
And particularly this bit:
1. Do not spend the LSAT prep course money at the bar.
If you’re looking into law school you’re not much for math or linear thinking. Otherwise you’d be on your way to Wall Street. You’ve taken three years of classes like “The History of Wicker,” “Allegorical Significance of Elves in Middle Earth Literature,” and “Famous Southern Marxists,” dashing off last minute papers on Ritalin binges to hold your meager GPA. This won’t fly on the LSAT. Put the bar tabs on the Discover Card (you’re going to max it out at some point this year anyway). Spend the money mom gave you for the LSAT course on the actual classes. Trust me. There’s no other way that liquor sponge between your ears is ever going to get through those logic exams. Don’t believe me? Answer this in the next ten seconds:
A swinger’s club has five rooms, numbered 1 through 5. Each room accommodates up to two people. Three couples—Edith and Purvis, Melvyn and Ethel and Bertha and Adolph —are visiting at the same time. Melvyn is sharing a room. Ethel is not sharing the room she is in, which is situated immediately next to an empty room. Edith is not sharing a room with either Purvis or Bertha. Purvis is in either the third or fourth room. Which of the following groups of swingers could occupy the second room? Assume all are bi-curious.
(A) Melvyn only; (B) Edith and Purvis; (C) Melvyn and Ethel; (D) Adolph and Edith; or (E) Adolph, Purvis, and Bertha.
However true it might be, “Dude, that’s a retarded hypothetical… What could that shit ever have to do with being a lawyer?” is not a correct answer. Take the course.
when they have no real intention of following through? This is my top #1 pet peeve. I really don’t care if you’re overextended. You shouldn’t have agreed to do it in the first place if you didn’t think you could follow through.
“I guarantee you, Barack Obama ain’t taking my shotguns. So don’t buy that malarkey. They’re going to start peddling that to you. I’ve got two and if he tries to fool with my Beretta, he’s got a problem.”—
Joe Biden on the NRA’s bogus claims that Obama wants to ban guns. Joe sure does have a way with words. (via winstonwolfe)
I’ve only read 7 of these books cover to cover. Others I own and have never read, and others I’ve read parts in classes but never read the whole thing. I should maybe read more classics instead of chick lit…
I’ve read 17 of these and started two others. I always meant to get back to The Golden Notebook. I do not intend to return to Love in the Time of Cholera (I really enjoyed One Hundred Years of Solitude and several other Marquez novels, however). Also, I own Wuthering Heights but I’ve never read it.
I want to understand women, so I guess I’ve got some reading to do. -MATC
Ndnation.com contributor NDTiger likes to write letters. Here is his latest missive.
American Egg Board Office 1460 Renaissance Drive Park Ridge, IL 60068
Dear Mr. Egg President,
I am writing today because of a troubling flaw I have found with your product, the egg. You see, I am currently training for the Southwest-Central Ohio Iditarod, a bi-decade dog race meant to match the wits and brute physical strength of its contestants against the cruel, senseless winter climate of Greene County, Ohio.
In my training I need to ingest as much protein as possible so I may rebuild the millions of musclelic bonds I break every minute of every day. My doctor says he has never seen anyone train as hard in such a short period of time, and that protein is the only thing that can save me from Grave Strain.
Now, I would like to let you and your subordinates know that I usually enjoy your product under most conditions. My small complaint, however, is when I place your product in boiling water for about twelve minutes. This particular method was given to me by a homosexual friend of mine who uses your product to supplement his own weight-gaining program. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how trustworthy a gay man is when it comes to looking good naked.
My problem is that when I boil your product I cannot remove its hard protective shell without damaging the vital protein inside. I try to peel it, and it rips off large chunks of protein with it. The shell seems bonded to the protein! I have tried it with the product cold and with it warmed. I have tried cracking it at the narrow top and at the fat bottom and starting from both ends. I have tried pulling it around (think about it). I have tried rolling it on a hard surface and using a pair of tweezers to take small pieces off at a time. This last method was a little more successful but was so laborious I lost nearly half of a morning’s training time. I have included a pie graph of that morning to illustrate the time wasted.
Please let me know if there is any secret to unlocking the incredible protein power inside your boiled product. I appreciate your help in this matter and want you to know how important your eggs are to my lifestyle.
Led by Michael Schredl and Boris Stuck — who have shown, respectively, that women are not awakened by the smell of rotten eggs, and that snores do not correlate with nightmares — a team of German researchers tested the effect of odor on the dreams of 15 young adult women, the demographic scientifically shown to have the most sensitive olfactories.
Once deep in REM sleep, they were exposed to ten-second aromatic flushes of phenyl ethyl alcohol, roughly analogous to roses, or hydrogen sulfide, typically found in rotten eggs and a standby of odor-and-dream science. (In a methodological aside, the test apparatuses are formally known as “Sniffin’ Sticks.”) An odorless chemical was used as a control.
Having sniffed, the women were roused and asked to report. The tone of their dreams consistently tracked with the tenor of the smells — but unlike dreamers who incorporate external sounds, such as an alarm clock radio, the women did not recall having smelled roses or rotten eggs. Instead they experienced a shift in the emotional content of their dreams.”
In the largest restructuring deal since the Depression, on Sunday the Fed approved the applications of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to become “bank holding companies.”
A bank holding company is, by definition, a company that owns and controls one or more US bank. Basically, this now means the Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are more like retail or commercial banks. You know - the ones that take and hold deposits from you and me (think BofA). They’ll be supervised by the government. Before any major activity, like a merger or acquisition, the Federal Reserve must approve.
The benefits of becoming a bank holding company are that Goldman and MS can now take on debt tax free. They are also viewed are more stable by investors, who last week thought they were not solid enough to survive. This will provide the bank access to “permanent liquidity and funding,” and will, thus, be given more flexibility to carry on during the tumultuous marketplace.
This marks the end of the investment banking industry as we knew it. In a personal note, a professor of mine noted “If you came to school to go into investment banking for the money, don’t bother.” Now these former ibanks will no longer be able to pay lavish bonuses on top of already high salaries. They’ll have higher capital requirements (= less debt) and more oversight (= less risky endeavors). This change may mean more jobs, however, as they’ll have to bulk up in order to take and hold deposits from more people.
On an interesting note - did you know that prior to this week, the US and Japan were the only countries in the world with standalone investment banks? Now it’s just Japan.
Perhaps you’ve seen headlines or references in articles about the ban on short selling. Many believe it is one of the main causes of the current financial crisis and the fall of such banks as Bear, Lehman, and AIG. But what exactly is “short selling?” How and when can you do it? And why is it so frowned upon?
When to Sell Short: You sell short when you think that a certain stock price is going to fall, and you’d like to profit off of that premonition.
How to sell short: Say you know something about a certain stock that nobody else does. Let’s use Apple. You were a tester for the new iPhone which you found malfunctioned. You know that upon release of the phone tomorrow, Apple’s stock price will fall. You want to profit off of this, but you don’t own any AAPL shares. Or you do, but not as many as you’d like.
So you borrow AAPL stock from someone else’s account. Let’s call him Joe. Your broker can help you do this – take 100 AAPL shares out of his client, Joe’s, account (without Joe knowing about it) and give them to you. You sell those 100 shares at $140.90 each, today’s share price. The next day the new iPhone comes out, it bombs, and as you thought, shares fall to $100. (Dramatic, yes, but go with it). The next week, you think Apple’s share price will rise, so you buy back those 100 shares at $100 and give them back to Joe’s account. You’ve just made a sweet $4,090 in profit. To sum it up: you borrow shares of stock from someone else’s account. Sell them. Then buy them back at a (hopefully) lower price and return them to the account from which you borrowed.
Why sell short. One reason, as described above, is to speculate. If you think a stock or the market as a whole is overpriced, you can make money off of it. A second reason is to hedge – to protect yourself from unexpected losses. That is, if you’re long AAPL but want to take a little less risk, you might want to short another security in the computer industry, which inclues risk inherent to Apple. (ask billda for more)
Don’t sell short. Now I’m not recommending you actually do this, unless you are well versed in the markets. It’s pretty risky. If Joe decides he wants to do something with these shares, he can call you on it. At that moment you’ll have to cover, which means you’ll have to buy back the shares you borrowed from him and put them back into his account. So – say AAPL price actually rose and you were called when it was $160.90. Then you would have lost $2,000.
Can’t sell short. I also don’t recommend you do this, because right now you can’t. The SEC just put a ban on short-selling. After allegations that short sellers have led to the failures of Lehman, Bear, and the like, the SEC stepped in on Thursday and issued a temporary ban on short selling for 799 financial stocks. It’s alleged that short sellers often use false information and conspire to drive down the price of the stock.
This isn’t the first time we’ve placed a ban on short sellers. Short sellers were blamed for the Wall Street crash of 1929. Congress reacted by enacting a law, referred to as the “uptick rule,” which banned sellers from shorting during a downturn. Sellers could not short a share when the stock was selling for lower than the previous trade. This kept short sellers from adding downward momentum of a stock when it was already declining. After almost 80 years, the ban was lifted in 2007, when the SEC determined the markets were orderly enough that they didn’t need the restriction (this is despite the fact that just two years prior in 2005, the SEC sought to restrict short-selling outright).
The history of short-selling takes us back earlier than the Great Depression, however. In 1609, Isaac Le Maire, a Dutch trader, made the first short. He was concerned about threats of attack by English ships and shorted shares of the Dutch East India Company, the first multinational corporation and the first company to issue stock. The Dutch stock exchange did not approve of Le Maire’s actions and temporarily banned short-selling.
Later, during the Dutch depression of the 1630s, speculators saw short-selling as a means to profit off of the economic downturn. The English reacted by banning short-selling completely at the time.
I took Stocks for Jocks senior year, and I still don’t understand this. -MATC