Saturday, September 30, 2006

Gambling Bill

It appears as though the Republicans sneaked the gambling bill in under unrelated legislation yesterday. A copy of the bill through a link on this site takes you to it. You have to look real hard (all the way to page 213 till you get to it). Not sure what this means as TradeSports live help would not comment on it in any constructive way. The contract on the bill obviously jumped as Bush is sure to sign it (currently trading at $95, up from about $25 yesterday. Any lawyers out there with an educated opinion as to the future of trading at tradesports in the US would certainly be welcomed.

Friday, September 29, 2006

NL Pennant

Lets think about the NL Pennant contracts for a moment. In a few days there will be 4 teams fighting for the NL pennant. All thing being equal each should have a 25% chance of winning it, thus each going for $25… but we know all things are not equal.

Lets get rid of some easy ones first. The Mets are in, but lost their ace. Who will be the starting pitcher for game 1 for the “best” team in the NL? The only team in the NL that has had the time to set their rotation up for the post season? Orlando Hernandez will start. But with that offense I still would say they are the favorite, and will be on October 4th.

If we assume the Phillies are out of it (and I am from Philly, so trust me… they are out of it) then that means the wild card is coming out of the West. Now the tie breaker situation is confusing, but looks like a tie in the NL west goes to SD flat out (and home field in the first round), but a tie in NL Central means a game to decide it happensto be played at Houston.

Assuming the last game of the season counts for the Cards (and considering their facing Capuano and Sheets these next two games that is not a bad assumption) they will toss out Carpenter in Oct. 1 vs Mil. Then consider this, Oct 2 (make up vs SF), Oct 3 (possible tie breaker at Houston), Oct 4th at SD. Lots of traveling, without their ace for Game 1. Even if we consider the playoff game happens and Houston wins it, it looks like their pitching will be spent with Oswald going in the tie breaker game. For SD Peavy should start game 1, which means he would be in line for a game 5 if needed, and Young in game 2. I would have to give the edge to the Fathers.

It is much too early to tell with any level of confidence what will happen, but it looks like LA is going to NY, and either StL or Houston will go to SD. So it looks like the Pads are going to be looking pretty good a week from now. But the contract is going at $24. My guess is that one week from now that price will be much higher. There is value in the SD to win the Pennant contract.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The elephant in the Pit

... is Big Brother. No, not TS, but the US Govt. Which does not really seem to be standing for We The People (of the Pit). It is good to know the ways of our adversaries as we engage them on the front lines. Thanks to Diem for pointing the way to the free markets advocacy group in the previous post, although I am not a huge fan of mixing poker in with trading futures.

Getting back to Big Brother, Jason Ruspini has an interesting post on the benefit of tax futures, and why it will not happen while Congress is as Congress currently does:

I was encouraged by the comments when Tyler Cowen linked to my last post on tax futures. There is, unfortunately, an obstacle that wasn't touched on. Tax futures would have a tremendous hedging utility and would therefore likely fall under the jurisdiction of the CFTC.

For now, I suspect - well, know - that the CFTC will not approve contracts tied to acts of Congress. The question then becomes: In which countries would tax futures be most feasible from a political and regulatory standpoint?

I myself was happy to leave a comment on the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act page of WashingtonWatch a few months ago. Go check out that site, too.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Save On Line Gambling

For quite some time now I have been asking the questions “how could we make a difference in the fight for online gambling?” If you are a reader of this blog then you recognize the flawed logic behind banning online gambling. That being said, how do we educate others to the issue? This may be the answer to our questions.

There was some talk in the pit about it today. I have never heard of its existence before. In short it is seems to be a pro-online gambling lobbying campaign. Comments are most welcomed as I know little about it and have many questions. For starters this organization seems to be geared toward poker players first (as evidence of their "links"), and sports gambling second. Is this an accurate assessment? Would they compromise sports gambling for the safety of online poker players’ rights? If not this may be a form we can all rally behind. Take care all.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday Night NFL Sept. 25

Atlanta Falcons QB Mike Vick who has rushed for 175 yards at better than eight yards/carry in leading his team to a 2-0 start. He is also 5-0 as a starter versus the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta has beaten New Orleans three of the last four but the Saints are 3-1 ATS. Vick ran for two touchdowns and passed for 231 yards and a score in the Falcons' 36-17 victory over the Saints on a Monday night at the Georgia Dome last December 12. He threw for just 112 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 51 yards as the Falcons edged the Saints, 34-31, last October 16 at the Alamodome

Atlanta: 11-3 ATS at New Orleans
New Orleans: 16-34 ATS at home vs. division opponents

JEDIMINDTRICKS PICK OF THE DAY: Atlanta -3.5 To bad Reggie Bush doesn't play on defense, because New Orleans needs someone quick enough to catch Michael Vick. If not, Vick can just hand it off, and they'll also have a hard time finding Dunn. Oh, so you think New Orleans can stop their running game? Did you forget, that Vick is a quarter back, not a running back? When Vick's on the move, he can still throw it to Alge Crumpler. REMEMBER Falcon's have already played two good defensive teams.

JEDIMINDTRICKS RECORD
ALL NFL GAMES: 14-14
WEEKLY PICK 6: 7-5
PICK OF THE DAY/WEEK: 3-1

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The problem with Amaranth is ... gambling


I described the difference between traders and gamblers back in July. Jeff Matthews describes Long Term Capital and Amaranth in a similar way:

The most memorable part of Roger Lowenstein’s excellent book on the Long Term Capital Management debacle (quoted above) was when LTCC’s founder, John Meriwether, called a retired, street-wise, market-savvy ex-Bear Stearns confidant for advice.

When he heard LTCC was down 50%, the old-timer didn't mince words. He told Meriwether: “You’re finished.”

What the old pro was telling the computer-driven “Genius” of the book title was that when the market smells blood in the water, it goes after whatever is bleeding and doesn’t let go.

Now, this week’s blow-up of Amaranth, a Greenwich Connecticut-based hedge fund which appears to have fallen victim to some wild and crazy natural gas trading, does not, as far as anybody knows, rival LTCC’s when it comes to potentially bringing down the system.

After all, LTCC had margined their positions into a nominal exposure close to a trillion dollars, compared to the multiple billions involved at Amaranth.

Nevertheless, the two situations are not entirely unrelated. As happened with LTCC, when word of a problem at a hedge fund hit the natural gas markets last week, those markets appear to have started going precisely the wrong way for the fund most exposed to those moves—Amaranth.

I have no idea how the situation will unwind, and I certainly hope there isn’t the kind of second and third-derivative damage in other markets of the type that caused LTCC’s demise to force an emergency session of the Federal Reserve. Those were very dark days.

But the lesson is obvious: for all the confidant talk about how derivatives off-load risk and therefore create a safer financial world, there is something to the notion that what we are building up here is the potential for a liquidity crisis that brings the system down.
If you can lose half of your account worth in a single contract, then you are a gambler, like this guy. An old colleague of mine was trading Nikkei right next to him, and everyone in the pit knew that he had a huge position, and refused to let him out without him paying his right arm on top of fair value.

Same thing could happen to you, if you are sitting on a huge position and liquidity all of a sudden dries up. My advice is to keep your exposure on any one contract (or series, e.g. long moneyline, short spread) to 5% or less of your account or the open interest, whichever is lesser. Live to trade another day. And another. Gambling = Death (unless you have more money than the house).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday Night College Sept. 21

Virginia @ Georgia Tech

Virginia: 6-16 ATS away off an Under
Georgia Tech: 6-0 Under off an Over

It sounds like Georgia Tech should dominate Virginia right? WRONG! The Georgia Tech seniors, including QB Reggie Ball, have never defeated Virginia and although I have little doubt that they should walk away from this contest with their first win in 3 years over this Virginia team, I can also confidently say that NO WAY will they win by this spread margin. Georgia Tech usually has an open date the Saturday before a Thursday night game, But that is not the case in this one after they battled Trpy last Saturday. The lack of additional preparation will make this contest difficult for the Yellow Jacket coaching staff to get ready for Virginia, or to ready their bland offense to do anything different then they did last week.The great thing is, Reggie's been looking at it for three years and has a much better understanding of it. But Gailey fails to recognize that Reggie Ball is still Reggie Ball something he cannot escape. In essence, he is, and will always be, a quarterback with bad accuracy and poor decision-making abilities.

JEDIMINDTRICKS RECORD
ALL NFL GAMES: 7-8
WEEKLY PICK 6: 3-3
PICK OF THE DAY/WEEK: 2-1

JEDIMINDTRICKS PICK OF THE DAY: Viginia +17.5 Can't wait to see Virginia to put up a good fight. If Georgia Tech goes under (according to the trend above) Georgia Tech will have a hard time covering this spread.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Micro liberty in the chat pit today

This is a conversation I had with my good friend Napito (edited):

Napito: I recieved a letter from ts help yesterday
Napito: saying that we should regulate each other on the pit
...
caveatBettor: i also believe in self-regulation. while anyone here can choose to report anyone else here, it takes the matter out of our hands for a 3rd party to decide
caveatBettor: why would anyone who advocates for free markets do things that way?
caveatBettor: i think its because they want to enjoy big govt as well as free markets, not understanding the tension betwewen the two

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

James Surowiecke in the New Yorker magazine says:

Furthermore, the ban on online betting is hindering the development of new markets that could predict far more important outcomes than that of the N.B.A. finals. In the past few years, a host of prediction markets, as they’re usually called, have appeared online, offering people the chance to speculate on subjects ranging from the box-office performance of Hollywood films to the outcome of Presidential elections and the spread of bird flu. These markets’ forecasts have proved remarkably accurate—just as bettors collectively do an exceptionally good job of predicting sports results. (In 2004, for instance, Tradesports, a Dublin-based prediction market, called thirty-three out of thirty-four races in the Senate correctly, and called all fifty states correctly in the results for the electoral college.) But in the U.S. these markets have to use play money, because using real money would constitute gambling. The online gambling ban prevents these markets from getting bigger and more accurate.

That might seem an acceptable cost if the war on Internet betting looked set to accomplish its goals. Instead, it’s likely to make the problems it was designed to solve worse. Online bookmakers have been portrayed as shady operators, but the biggest of them are far more transparent and easy to regulate than illegal bookies, many of whom have ties to organized crime. David Carruthers, before he was arrested, had been actively calling for the regulation of his industry. Congress may think that driving bettors back underground can curb underage gambling and money laundering, but don’t bet on it.

Read the whole thing (hat tip to Don Luskin).

I have made similar arguments here about the law. And here is a good WSJ article on current enforcement.

I've also quoted some smart dudes who agree. And I have talked about the benefits of predictive information markets.

NFL Week 3 Analysis - Pick 6

The games (below) are the only games i'll be keeping track of. Please Come back for my Monday night pick posted on Monday afternoon.

*Cincinnatti @ Pittsburgh - Jedi Pick: OVER 41.5
Cincinnati: 9-1 ATS away off a straight up win
Pittsburgh: 8-0 Over as a home favorite
JEDI THOUGHTS: This is a tought one too, but I love how Cincinnatti is playing, and they are my pick for the Super Bowl, so I'm taking Cincinnatti, and plus it's only -2.5 again. But be careful Pittsburgh is bound to bounce back soon. Just play the OVER, it's more safe.

*Jacksonville @ Indianapolis - Jedi Pick: Indianapolis -6.5
Jacksonville: 12-4 Under in dome stadiums
Indianapolis: 14-5 ATS off BB ATS wins as favorites
JEDI THOUGHTS: Jacksonville didn't look that good, they were struggling to score against Pittsburgh, and Pitt wasn't even playing a good defensive game. Even if the Jags can play good defense this week, look for Peyton Manning to kill e'm in the air.

*Tennessee @ Miami - Jedi Pick: Tennessee +10.5
Tennessee: 12-2 Over off BB losses
Miami: 1-7 ATS as a home favorite
JEDI THOUGHTS: What is going on with Miami? first I thought that they were an OK team because they played an OK game against Pittsburgh, then I figured they can't even beat Buffalo, after I called them a FLUKE? I think Miami is the fluke here. Watch Miami as they continue to struggle EVEN AT HOME.

*Chicago @ Minnesota - Jedi Pick: Chicago - 3.5
Chicago: 8-1 Under away off a home game
Minnesota: 18-6 ATS as a home underdog
JEDI THOUGHTS: Hah, Minnesota 2-0, Well better be ready for this tought, and I mean TOUGH defensive team, Minnesota won't stand a chance with these Bears. Minnesota wins both games by game winning field goal? Hah, they shouldn't of won against Carolina if it wasn't for that lateral mistake. I'd like to see Minnesota score more than 14points this game. Good Luck Minnesota in trying to come up with a win against these Bears.

*Baltimore @ Cleveland - Jedi Pick: Cleveland +6.5
Baltimore: 10-2 Under away vs. conference opponents
Cleveland: 13-5 Under in home games
JEDI THOUGHTS: Baltimore not so impressive especially when playing those Raiders, well don't get me wrong their defense is not that bad. But remember Cleveland is still also hungry for their first win and they did have a tought game against Cincinnatti last week. Look for Cleveland to beat them in the air. Ray Lewis and Baltimore will stop Cleveland's ground game. But also look for this game to be under, if Cleveland can't move the ball through the air.

*Philadelphia @ San Francisco - Jedi Pick: San Francisco +6.5
Philadelphia: 11-3 Under off an Over
San Francisco: 22-10 ATS after allowing 400+ total yards
JEDI THOUGHTS: WOW! San Francisco impressed me last week, great game. This is the only game I like as an upset. Alex Smith is finally found some kind of rhythm, it took him a little more than a year to find it, so I doubt he'll just blow it in this game, plus they're at home. While Philadelphia is still trying to recooperate after that BIG loss last week. (IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS.)

JEDIMINDTRICKS RECORD
ALL NFL GAMES: 7-8
WEEKLY PICK 6: 3-3
PICK OF THE DAY/WEEK: 2-1

Here's how Tradesports traders can protect our common interests

We form a union. We lock in politicians and vendors (i.e. TS) and get lots of fat concessions and special treatment.

Where did I get this great idea? From today's WSJ op-ed (subscription required):

Hard-working union members deserve to know, for example, that of the AFL-CIO's $82 million in discretionary disbursements from July 2004 to June 2005, only 36% went to representing members in labor negotiations -- which is what unions were created to do. A whopping $49 million, or 60% of its budget, instead went to political activities and lobbying, while another $2.4 million went to contributions, gifts and grants. The National Education Association was even more skewed toward politics, spending only 33% of its $143 million discretionary budget on improving its members' lots.

By our calculations based on the filings, the AFL-CIO spent at least $2.7 million alone on T-shirts, flyers, telephone calls, Web site hosting, and other support for 2004 Presidential candidate John Kerry. Groups that received AFL-CIO money included Citizens for Tax Justice, an organization devoted to higher tax rates; the Economic Policy Institute, a think-tank that campaigns against Social Security privatization and tax cuts; and the Alliance for Justice, a ferocious opponent of President Bush's Supreme Court nominees.

Dues-paying workers of the world might want to ask: Why is Mr. Sweeney spending more of their money trying to raise taxes, or fighting for the cultural left, than he is on collective bargaining?

The IRS may also want to inspect these forms. That's because, prior to the new LM-2 disclosure rules, at least a dozen large unions had told the tax agency that they spent nothing on politics. The National Education Association's 2004 tax return, for instance, left blank the line for "direct or indirect political expenditures." Yet according to its LM-2, the NEA spent $25 million on such activities from September 2004 to August 2005. Eliot Spitzer could sure have fun with that one -- if he didn't have the NEA's endorsement.

The forms also offer a glimpse at union chief salaries. At least three union heads took home more than a million dollars in compensation in their last fiscal year -- though two were admittedly the heads of the NFL and NBA players unions. The third-fattest union cat was Martin Maddaloni, the chief of the Plumbers and Pipefitters, who took home $1.3 million last year. The Plumbers' "director of training" -- a fellow named George Bliss -- somehow managed to make $456,644 in 2005. Now we know why plumbers are so expensive: They have to make enough to pay the dues that keep their union reps in Armani.

The LM-2 forms show that some 1,015 paid union officers and employees devoted more than 90% of their time to political activities. Combined, these folks took home compensation worth nearly $53 million. Some 1,755 union personnel spent at least 50% of their time on political activities and lobbying.

As for financial management, let's just say some of these union chiefs are having fun in their jobs. United Auto Workers Local 14 reported it spent $67,000 at an amusement park. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers spent $124,000 at a hotel resort. And the Plumbers forked over $225,000 on Nascar advertising.

A couple of other fun facts: Of the 100 highest paid union executives, 93% are men. We hope some class-action lawyer isn't looking to sue for gender discrimination. And, believe it or not, unions report that they spent $624,000 at largely non-unionized big box retailers across the country, including Target, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Costco and K-Mart. They apparently know a low price when they see one.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday Night NFL Sept. 18

Out of the gate with a 1-0 start to their season the Jacksonville Jaguars will look to go to 2-0 as they host the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night. The Jags know they'll be in a division dogfight all year with the Indianapolis Colts who are in first place in the AFC South by virtue of their starting the year 2-0. And, wouldn't you know it, the Jaguars go to Indianapolis next week and certainly won't want to go into that contest off a loss.

JACKSONVILLE is 8-1 against the spread versus PITTSBURGH since 1992
JACKSONVILLE is 6-3 straight up against PITTSBURGH since 1992
6 of 9 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1992

Pittsburgh: 8-1 Under away off an Over
Jacksonville: 7-0 ATS in September

JEDIMINDTRICS PICK OF THE DAY: Jacksonville +2.5
I CAN'T SAY THIS ANYMORE, BUT THIS IS ANOTHER WILL WIN PICK OF THE DAY BY ME AND A STONE COLD LOCKer AT KNBR 1050 WHO'S IS NOW 3-0

JEDIMINDTRICKS RECORD
ALL NFL GAMES: 7-8
WEEKLY PICK 6: 3-3
PICK OF THE DAY/WEEK: 1-1

Friday, September 15, 2006

Dow should open above 11600 this morning

and may touch 11700 before the close.

CPI data is easing nicely. Hysterical bears who still have a little margin left in their accounts speak of CPI understating inflation, and therefore useless and a government conspiracy beyond Oliver Stonian proportions.

I begged, begged, begged you bears to tread carefully. Hopefully you listened, and are wealthier for it.

I believe that the best range of consumer inflation is 2-3%, and GDP growth 3-5%. We are awfully close to that now, there is very little volatility in the data, and never in history has it been this good.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

NFL Week 2 Analysis

We're now in week two of the NFL. It was a pretty damn tough week one, and i'm pretty sure week two will be twice as hard. But here's my picks and analysis for the week. Check out my blog for all Sunday's game analysis. The games (below) are the only games i'll be keeping track of. Please Come back for my Monday night pick posted on Monday afternoon.

*Carolina @ Minnesota - Jedi Pick: Carolina - 2.5
Carolina: 7-0 ATS away off a loss as a favorite
Minnesota: 8-1 Under at home off an ATS win
JEDI THOUGHTS: Carolina - 2.5? Are you kidding me? Hah. Carolina will win, they have to find their game fast, before it's too late.
*Giants @ Philadelphia - Jedi Pick: Giants +3.5
NY Giants: 17-7 ATS after gaining 400+ total yards
Philadelphia: 16-6 Under as a favorite
JEDI THOUGHTS: Giants played a good game last week, just that Eli was a little tense, plus big brother is just too much for him. Also remember Philidelphia was only playing Houston Texans! Watch Giants come back with a major win.
*TampaBay @ Atlanta - Jedi Pick: TampaBay +5.5
Tampa Bay: 24-4 Under first two weeks of the season
Atlanta: 0-7 ATS off a win by 14+ points
JEDI THOUGHTS: Gruden won't let his team fall 0-2. TampaBay will come back with a fight.
*New Orleans @ GreenBay - Jedi Pick: New Orleans -1.5
New Orleans: 2-9 ATS vs. conference opponents
Green Bay: 30-14 Over after scoring 14 points or less
JEDI THOUGHTS: Seems like Saints found a little something something, and still don't think GreenBay has anything even at home.
*New England @ NY Jets - Jedi Pick: New England - 6.5
New England: 6-1 Over off a win by 6 points or less
NY Jets: 6-17 ATS at home in September
JEDI THOUGHTS: Jets win two in a row? Yea, maybe against Texans. Jets will fall apart after they see this New England team.
*Washington @ Dallas - Jedi Pick : Washington +5.5
Washington: 14-2 Under off an ATS loss
Dallas: 10-4 ATS at home vs. Washington
JEDI THOUGHTS: Both coming off a loss, and looking for their first win, but I think it comes down to who wants it more, WASHINGTON! will win while Parcells figures out what he's going to do with his team.
JEDIMINDTRICKS PICK OF THE WEEK: CAROLINA -2.5
JEDIMINDTRICKS RECORD
*PICK OF THE DAY/WEEK: 1-0
*NFL WEEKLY: 0-0

Thursday Night College Sept.14

The 5th-ranked Mountaineers are and have been bet up to a 16-point choice. Last year they went to Maryland in the third game of the season and scored a 31-19 win as a 3.5-point dog. The Mountaineers were to go on to an 11-1 finish (9-2 ATS) while Maryland finished 5-6 in both categories. Both clubs come in 2-0 after opening at home but the Mountaineers are 1-0 ATS after last week's 52-3 trampling of Eastern Washington and the Terps 0-1 ATS after failing to cover a 22-point impost in a 24-10 home win over MTSU.

Maryland: 18-5 Under off a home win
West Virginia: 8-1 ATS off an ATS win

The betting public is correct when moving the money line in MARYLAND games 50% of the time since 1992. (61-61)
The betting public is correct when moving the money line in MARYLAND games 45% of the time over the past 3 seasons. (9-11)
The betting public is correct when moving the money line in W VIRGINIA games 60% of the time since 1992. (78-52)
The betting public is correct when moving the money line in W VIRGINIA games 63.2% of the time over the past 3 seasons. (12-7)

LAST THOUGHTS: THE SPREAD WILL BE THE DIFFERENCE IN THIS GAME, I DON'T SEE ANY UPSET. MONEY LINE IS MOVING IN W VIRGINIA WAY. STONE COLD LOCK (BUT THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS LOCKS) ON KNBR 1050 WVIRGINA. HE'S 2-0

JEDIMINDTRICKS PICK OF THE DAY: WVIRGINIA -16.5 (TRADESPORTS LINE)

PLEASE POST COMMENTS, THIS IS MY FIRST BLOG. I'D SURE LIKE SOME FEEDBACK AND YOUR PICKS HERE. PLEASE COMMENT IF YOU THINK THIS NEW BLOG SHOULD STAY.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bob Ryan is unhappy that Deion Branch invoked "I've got to feed my family"

I disagree with Ryan (registration required), and wished that he and Dan Shaughnessy--Mr Benedict "Curse of the Bambino" Arnold--learned some class from this great sportswriter, who was their colleague for many years.

Yes, Deion would have made $1.5 mil this year, which is a ton of money for 99% of us who live in this wealthy land. But what if he sustained a career ending injury this year, which can happen in practice or the preaseason, never mind a game? He would be released, and end up doing what?

By locking in a guaranteed signing bonus (I don't know what it is right now, but guess it's at least $5 mil), even if he sustains same injury and is released, he can send his 3 kids to college and have a modest sized retirement egg. In the meantime, Bob Ryan will be celebrating his 40th anniversary with the Boston Globe in 2008. Which is about 10 times the career span of an NFL wide receiver.

UPDATE: Michael Felger (who is not the most popular journalist in the Patriot locker room) has a fairer assessment (registration required):

The most recent collective bargaining agreement banned five-year deals for second-round picks and lower, so the Pats could no longer employ the tactic even if they wanted. Unfortunately, that was too late for Branch, who has been hammered by fans for not honoring his contract. The reality is that Branch was going to be forced to hold out either as a rookie or as a fifth-year veteran. Tight end Benjamin Watson, who signed a six-year contract as the last pick of the first round in 2004, may end up doing both.
The only other option available to Branch (or any rookie) was to do what third-round pick Guss Scott did in 2004. Scott opted for a little-used provision in the CBA that allows rookies to sign a series of one-year, minimum-level tenders with no signing bonus. The hope is to play well and hit restricted free agency after Year 3, or at least use that leverage to get a suitable long-term deal from the club beforehand.

How’d that work out for Scott? He tore his left ACL in his rookie preseason and his right ACL early in his second year. He’s now out of the league. He never got paid. In hindsight, Branch and his agent played their situation well.

UPDATE: Deion is getting $13 million in guarantees from Seattle, the Boston Herald reports. If I am one of Deion's boys or his wife, I am celebrating. What if he were Bob Ryan's dad? Would Ryan say, "aww Pop, you gotta honor that contract"? If Deion did, I would actually find that honorable, but I say a man who puts his family ahead of his own honor, that's a man I could respect.

UPDATE: Only $7 million is an upfront signing bonus, with the $6 million being an option bonus in 2007

I am a wittle scay-ud of the pwesidential fwontwunnuhs

Hillary scay-uhs me because, for some reason, when she says she's a diehard Yankee fan, I don't believe her. And if she mispresents something as sacrosanct as her sports loyalties, who knows how much weight to put on her political statements.

McCain scay-uhs me for a completely different reason. He is a war hero and patriot, but I don't think he understands how his legislative passion can lead the country away from its Constitution. Here is a good article (via Instapundit) on the law that bears his name, which suppresses free speech.

As an unwashed, uneducated bwog-guh, I am no expert on the constitution. I haven't studied it with teachers since middle school (back in the 70s). Since allegedly entering adulthood, I have read a few histories, biographies, and various and sundry documents like the Federalist Papers and Constitution. And simple me cannot square a law that prohibits election speech with the First Amendment.

If it came down to McCain vs. Clinton, I don't know who I'd vote for. And it is scay-wee!


Price for 2008 US Presidential Election - Winning Individual *(See Specific Rules) at TradeSports.com





Price for 2008 US Presidential Election - Winning Individual *(See Specific Rules) at TradeSports.com

Falling oil eases inflation, boosts consumer spending, creates jobs ...

... and really puts the bears on the endangered species list. According to today's WSJ (subscription required):

The recent drop in oil prices could provide a welcome and surprising boost to consumer pocketbooks this fall, cushioning the economy from a falloff in home prices and construction while venting an important source of inflation pressure.

The easing of energy prices is an unexpected -- and little-noted -- positive amid economic anxiety over falling housing activity, previous energy-price increases and the possibility of recession.

"Some 99% of the questions I get these days are about the size of the drag from housing, and I think that far too few people are thinking seriously about the boost from lower oil," said Robert Mellman, senior economist at J.P. Morgan Chase. He predicted the retail gasoline price should soon hit $2.30 a gallon, based on declines that already have occurred in the wholesale price.

Mr. Mellman said lower gasoline prices should boost the annual growth rate of consumer spending a full percentage point and could lift fourth-quarter economic growth from a forecast 3%, at an annual rate, to as high as 3.7%. For now, though, his firm is leaving its growth forecast unchanged.

For now, the price drop's impact on inflation will be as important as its effect on economic growth. Edward McKelvey, economist at Goldman Sachs, expects the decline in gasoline prices to knock 0.4 percentage point off the overall inflation rate. The 12-month inflation rate was 4.1% in July. If Mr. McKelvey's calculations are correct and other prices continue their recent trend, that rate could fall to 2.4% in September, in part because a big jump in September 2005, due to Hurricane Katrina, will drop out of the 12-month calculation.

While the Federal Reserve focuses on "core inflation," which excludes energy and food prices, it blames the recent rise of core inflation on energy costs seeping into the prices of other goods and services. It is a principal reason the Fed, while leaving short-term rates alone at 5.25% last month, has said it is ready to raise them again if inflation pressures intensify. It could relax that stance if the retreat in energy prices hastens an expected decline in core inflation. Mr. McKelvey said that by boosting growth, lower energy prices could also make rate cuts less likely.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bird flu trends, masked by media reporting

For those who have an interest in the TS bird flu contracts, I came across an interesting article (by way of Marginal Revolution).

It's just early September and already the number of confirmed cases of bird flu in humans has equalled that of all last year. And we are just entering flu season. Since the resurgence of the disease in late 2003 (four cases that year), there has been a steady escalation, with 46 cases in 2004, doubling to 97 in 2005 and as of today already 97 this year And it's only September. WHO now has recorded 244 cases since 2003, with 143 deaths (WHO).

Newspaper editors periodically tire of reporting on bird flu, or run stories that things are looking better, or that a vaccine has been devised. Many people have the impression the threat has bated. In truth, the disease is moving steadily forward, with no let up.

Branch has broken


Deion Branch got an offer he couldn't refuse from the Seahawks, and understandably took it. Darrell Jackson is bitter, but Seahawks fans should be optimistic, given their banged up patchwork reciever corps. And Pats fans should be soberminded, as the passing attack will be limited over previous years. But with the improved running game, I am still thinking the Pats can go 11-5.

My sympathies to all you guys who drafted Brady after Peyton was gone in your fantasy leagues. Hopefully you've got a good running game, too.

The New England beat writers have been pretty downbeat on how this turned out, but they felt the same way about Drew Bledsoe and Lawyer Milloy. Yes, losing both Branch and David Givens is rain on the road to another Superbowl, but I think that committing $30+ million to a single receiver will make the work of replenishing aging linebackers and Rodney Harrison that much harder. And Pioli/Belichick did pickup the highly rated Chad Jackson, his hammy (and/or slow grasp of the complex Weis offense) notwithstanding, which shows that they were working to improve passing productivity.

Farewell Deion, and thanks for the memories.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Please welcome Brandon Lang (aka jedimindtricks)


to the blog. He will be doing a weekly NFL picks post.

The only thriving bears are the species indigenous to


Chicagoland.

For those typical bears who are short US equities, US dollars, and long commodities, the Bear Ice Age is upon you. But I've been warning you all the time on this blog and in the chat pit.

We remember those we lost on September 11, 2001


On that morning, from my apartment on Duane Street that looked right out right at the Twin Towers, my wife called me at my midtown office to tell me that one of the towers was burning. The news had not yet hit the local Fox news channel yet, so the trading floor TVs were all tuned to CNBC as usual, and I was just asking those near me what they might have heard about it.

While we were on the phone, she saw the plane hit the other tower, and from seven blocks away, she felt our building shake. And so began the most surreal day of our lives.

It doesn't seem like five years have passed, but a lot has happened in that time. So we have moved on, and moved forward. Just as I am grateful for those who established and defended the freedom that my family enjoys today, I am grateful for the work done by so many to heal my city, and to thwart planned attacks around the world since then.

I knew some of the people who perished at Ground Zero, and others who almost were caught in the towers, but were running late for some personal reason. My wife and oldest daughter were affected, too, for the rest of our earthly lives--but not in the most profound and tragic of ways. And because I have had a few more days on this earth, I take the opportunity to say: God bless you, the reader of this humble blog, and the advocates of Freedom everywhere.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Ides of Gridiron are upon us


Very exciting NFL game to start the season last night. Exciting in-game trading too, with trader Adverse buy $18,000 of PIT contracts when they went up by 4 points in the beginning of the 4th quarter. Sympathies to gambler Yellow Jacket, who zeroed out his account maxing out on MIA.

Happy season and profits to all this year!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

ACLU Part II

Back to my flirtation with the ACLU. My email to the ACLU follows:

"I was wondering where the ACLU stood on the proposed gambling bill that would prohibit American citizens from using internet gambling sites but allow state owned monopoly gambling venues such as the lottery and horse racing. If the ACLU is against this bill then how would they fight against it? Thanks for your time, Diem"

Their response was:

"Dear Friend,
Thank you for contacting the ACLU. Our web site has a search feature located at the top of the home page. By typing in a search request, you should find the latest news, court briefings and archival information on this topic.

If you are not already an ACLU member, we encourage you to help support our aggressive work on the issues you care about. To join please visit http://www.aclu.org/contribute/contribute.cfm or call 1-888-567-ACLU.
Sincerely,D. BarberCorrespondence Manager, American Civil Liberties Union"

The search for “gambling bill” did not result in the inteded results. About the only thing I could find in this search was a reference to some sort of a “Gang Bill” that would include gambling offenses (presumably from illegal bookies?). This is obviously not what I was looking for.

As stated in an earlier blog I stand for the ideals that are the foundation of the ACLU. In fact I think most Americans do. On the other hand I unfortunately see them as a liberal organization whose tool is the court in the US justice system, not the court of public opinion.

In related news, the thread Cav posted earlier has Kyle1111 bringing this article to our attention. This is a very interesting article worth reading and thinking about.

By the way Kyle1111 I could not disagree more with your earlier post on September 1st that the maximize liquidity we TS should in effect tax US customers. In fact few things would hurt liquidity more then that.

Thats all for now, take care all

Friday, September 01, 2006

Alas, higher fees at TS. Does liquidity go up or down?

http://www.earthsky.com/photos/8645_d.jpgI take my 2 weeks of vacation (one highlight of my visit is pictured), read a bunch of smart posts by Diem, only to find out that the cost of trading at TS has just gone up. Now this in itself will reduce liquidity, but incentives have been shiftily shifted, so that winners pay (increased) expiry costs, and price takers pay increased trading costs ... but only in-game.

Fees for taking prices before the game have been eliminated. A big negative reaction from high volume traders and in-gamers found on this thread, and understandably so.

But I think there's a shot for liquidity to increase, as the costs are all back-ended both into time and into the winners, which should draw more trades and larger pre-game positions, as well as more newbies, whose losses will be a little less painful. It's one of those bets that only someone with access to TS' audited financial statements could settle, though. Here was my 2 cents:

. . . I agree that the expected value of each contract's return has become more negative by 2 cents. It is a minimum 0.4% inflation. Of course that is a disincentive, but frankly, the only way for fees to be reduced for us is if a worthy competitor to TS steps up and we are compelled to move our business to them.

Other than that, I believe that the market equilibrium will recalibrate to adjust for the payout scheme. More so, I believe that, since winners will be subsidizing losers, more newbies would come in, and they would last a little longer. And as long as the winners are still winning, they won't quit trading.

Finally, while liquidity in-game could be markedly reduced, liquidity before the game could be increased greatly. People would not be guaranteed to lose 4 cents everytime they took a price. They could thus move in and out of contracts in greater volume, and if larger resultant positions were established before the game, then TS wins.

I still think that multiple market makers would be the best way to improve liquidity. The Nasdaq model is superior to the NYSE model.