Monday, May 25, 2009

The Skyrocketing Cost of Education!

To all ye out-of-work destitute Wall Street bankers: Fear not. Minimal vocational re-education is required for you to join the next big industry .... Education.

Yes, a standard Harvard MBA only costs $175,000, leaving little room for nine-figure professorial salaries. Yes, for some people, a copy of Atlas Shrugged ($8.95) is enough of an eye opener. But the new trend in education caters to those "feeling" style learners who must experience it to learn it ... of course, with copious amounts of hand holding. For them, a few current offerings:

  • Hands-on independent studies on pitfalls of Leveraged Buy Outs of failed businesses:

$50 billion ($19 billion deposit required)
Chrysler.....$12 billion and 100,000 jobs (best value!)
AIG..........$170 billion plus 10% of the value of shares on NYSE
Act now! Inflation pricing starts soon!

  • Popular! New! "Trial-by-fire" Style Finance 101 .... Price: $700 billion
  • Private! Experiential MBA: .... Price: $1.9 Trillion (and counting)
  • Investment Basics: .... Price: $ ("socially priced" at 35% of your net worth)
  • Keynes vs. Friedman vs. Hayek: Fiscal and Monetary Policy: .... Price: $ (1 percent of GDP)
  • Pass-or-Fail Monetary Policy 301: .... Price: $(price determined one generation after you take the class)

  • And the ultimate: On-the-job-training in the White House: .... Price: $ Priceless

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Follow Up #5: You've Heard of the Illuminati ...

Look what has grown new legs and crawled out of the "this one just won't die!" file ...

I originally asserted here that the Illuminati did, indeed, exist, just not in the way most of us pictured. I pointed to insurance companies as the voracious gobblers of any ole stinky (um, I mean toxic?) asset that one might want to offload:

"one thing I've learned: if you have an asset to sell, they're buying. If you
need an asset, they have it...

They only rely on risk math when it agrees with their preconceived notions and personal preferences. The sheer magnitude of their assets (and liabilities?) allows them to mask, ignore, and walk away from huge screw-ups. Certainly a 'Black Monday' or two might cause some of them to crash and burn, but the more likely risk is that someone will realize the Emperor really isn't wearing anything. This will lead to inquest and meltdown. In the end, some politician will have the bright idea of creating an FIIC (Federal Insurance Insurance Corporation) to ensure that "no American ever has to fear not getting his insurance payout."

Fear these guys, not because they're big and powerful -- or because they're old, white, and male -- but because they are careless with YOUR money and if they fall, they fall hard."

Ahem. I told ya so. I'm just sayin'.

As I blogged here, the illuminati story came back around with a new twist: in a WSJ poll, a majority of readers advocated the idea of Goldman taking over the Federal government. Mind you the poll was from July '08 ... Oh, what a difference a few months make.

Well, then recently Matthew Malone updated the evidence in a Portfolio Magazine piece. The WSJ this week declared that readers had gotten what they asked for. They upped the ante by proposing a mini-series-of-horror to prove that Goldman is, indeed, Illuminati:

Scene 1. American government is now run by the 'Goldman Conspiracy'
Scene 2. Huge conflicts motivating Wall Street's 'Trojan Horse'
Scene 3. Wall Street's 'quiet coup' also runs world's banking system
Scene 4. Wall Street used the meltdown to take over America's government
... yadda yadda ... oy vey!

Do I believe it? I'm not telling. I don't wanna end up like this.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What Will Tomorrow Bring: Yet Another Sign the Apocalypse is Nigh

Ever heard this one:

Heaven is where you have French cooks, Italian lovers, English policemen, German engineers and everything organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where you have French engineers, English cooks, German policemen, Swiss lovers and everything organized by the Italians.

Oh, and ...

Survey by condom maker Durex shows that, at 123 points, Swiss score more often than the world average. Switzerland scored ahead of Latin lovers Italy (121) and France (120) ... for the record, they were ahead of Germany (117), the United States (85) and Britain (92) as well.

... Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has proven he knows how to overhaul the corporate culture of basket-case companies

Oh yeah ... him.

Aww... couldn't resist adding this one. Maybe heaven should have German lovers:
German lovers – aged six and five – try to elope to Africa

Friday, May 01, 2009

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish, Janet

Thanks Big J, I feel better already:

SPIEGEL: Madame Secretary, in your first testimony to the US Congress as Homeland Security Secretary you never mentioned the word “terrorism.” Does Islamist terrorism suddenly no longer pose a threat to your country?

Napolitano: Of course it does. I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word “terrorism,” I referred to “man-caused” disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.

Okay, if combating terrorism isn't sexy enough for her undivided attention, well then she better get busy on all those trendy new topics she's just bitten off. Here's Time Mag's latest (2007) Top-10 list of those man-caused disasters she'll be busy saving us from:
#1. Global Warming
#2. Brazil Plane Crash
#3. Southern California Forest Fires
#4. Yangtze River Dolphin Extinction
#5. Minneapolis Bridge Collapse
#6. Utah Mine Collapse
#7. North Korea Oil Pipe Explosion
#8. Siberia Mine Explosion
#9. Mozambique Munitions Explosion (huh?)
#10. Congo Train Derailment
I can see it now ... as a trendy ... um I mean goodwill ... gesture, we can send a US Coast Guard flotilla to babysit all those "functionally extinct" River Dolphins. As she'd know if she were properly versed in her Douglas Adams lit, the dolphins are gonna be fine. Humans are the ones in need of saving.

Then again, if people in general were properly versed in Douglas Adams lit, they'd better understand lot of things.

But I digress. Call me old-fashioned but I woulda thought these at least deserved a mention in Time's list:

-Zimbabwe ("The collapse of Zimbabwe’s health system in 2008 is unprecedented in scale and scope ... as of December 2008, there were no functioning critical care beds in the public sector in Zimbabwe." )

-Terrorism (Over 2500 dead in 2007 attacks alone)

- Assassination (for example, Rafik Hariri in 2005, Benazir Bhutto in 2007, João Bernardo Vieira in 2009)

- Collapse of Pakistan (no, this didn't start in 2009, or in 2007)

- Deforestation and Biodiversity Collapse (Governments across South America and Africa turn a blind eye to the rape o the Amazon and Congo river basins. On the bright side it seems to be slowing there. The same cannot be said for Chinese and Southeast Asian decimation)

(chart source:

- Genocide and war in lawless Sudan and Somalia

- Nuclear proliferation (particularly thanks to this "winner" who recently walked free)

- Oh yeah ... let's not forget the Evil Leaders League and their disregard of human rights and consequent deepening of poverty and hopelessness across nearly half the world's population and two-thirds of the alphabet ... from Afghanistan's Taliban to Congo's ... everybody ... to Iran's Ah-(throat-clearing noise)-madi-nejad to Russia's leader-whose-name-be-not-spoken-lest-I-end-up-in-a-gulag to the al-Saud plunderers of Arabia to Zimbabwe's Moogie. If properly provoked, I might even add the UN to the list, guilty of sitting idly by while this all continues year after year.