Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quotes of the day

... there's an old sayin' amongst gamblers: 'If you look around a room and you can't find the mark, you're the mark.  ... I've been swindled out of quite a bit quite a bit of money on the stock market. And I bought a lot of Enron stock once. And I got swindled. I bought a lotta WorldCom stock, got swindled. I bought a lotta Tyco stock. I got swindled--Billy Walters

[Billy Walters is] the most dangerous sports better in the history of Nevada, history of the world.--Kenny White

Sports betting is a fool's errand, given the wide spreads and limited markets (due to legistalative constraints).  But it is helpful medium for learning how to trade futures contracts in legitimate markets.  Trade sports small (or just paper trade them, no losses)--Cav

It sounds crazy, but making mid-five-figures monthly income when I was 25 years old was probably the worst thing that could've ever happened to me. It was a brief run, but its amazing how quickly one gets themselves accustomed to "having money." Lifestyle inflation happens swiftly - especially when you're young.--ChicagoSean

Suppose you wanted to create your own digital ghost to live for eternity in the Internet and maybe do some haunting. What would that look like?--Scott Adams

... most people do not really see themselves as members of a large multinational unit, global citizens, or "mass consumers." Instead the drivers of history remain the essentials: the desire to feed one's family, support the health of the tribe, and shape the immediate community. The particularistic continues to trump the universalistic. ... The end of the Soviet Union, it turns out, did not usher in a wider embrace of universal capitalism so much as engender various forms of ethnicity-based irredentism and, in Russia itself, a renewed Slavic nationalism. ... The new tribalism is also increasingly evident in Europe. Just a few years ago Europhiles like French eminence grise Jacques Attali or left-wing author Jeremy Rifkin could project a utopian future European Union that would stand both as a global role model and one of the world's great powers. Today, Rifkin's ideal of a universalistic "European dream" is collapsing -- a process accelerated by the financial crisis -- as the continent is torn apart by deep-seated historical and cultural rifts.--Joel Kotkin

Three years after bad home loans helped trigger the recession and six weeks after the government cashed in the last of its $45 billion Citigroup investment, the New York-based bank is still selling mortgages that violate quality standards, according to an internal Freddie Mac review obtained by Bloomberg.--Bob Ivry and Bradley Keoun

Commercial banks controlled by the government hold more than 90 percent of China’s domestic financial assets. The government, not a financial market, also decides both lending and deposit interest rates and broadly instructs the banks to lend to favored sectors. In short, banks are passive entities that absorb all the credit, interest and market risk involved in the government’s policy decisions. If, for example, inflation were to grow rapidly, the value of existing bank assets would be decreased. In a closed financial system like China’s, banks must inevitably be the institutions at risk.  ... the business model of these banks in effect destroys capital.  History has shown time and again that state enterprises, the principal borrowers, are not reliable borrowers. Despite the appearance of profitability, the banks don’t create sufficient capital given their high growth rates, dividend payouts and credit losses. This has been clearly underlined by this ongoing round of equity offerings.  ... if China’s banking system today – a nonconvertible currency combined with government designated loan and deposit rates as well as policy-directed lending – represents such a strong model, why hasn’t it been exported or adopted by other countries, many of which are in dire need to thorough reforms?--Carl Walter

Investors in mainland China are clearly expressing concerns over inflation and slowing growth that the USA and much of the rest of the world is comfortable ignoring for now. The Shanghai Composite fell -3% on Monday to close almost -16% off its November highs. Investors are increasingly concerned over the government’s ability to contain inflation and steer the economy towards a soft landing.--Cullen Roche

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