Saturday, April 11, 2009

Oil Bidness.

How are things in the oil business?  Well, The Calgary Herald reports that 24 million barrels are being stored at sea.  (via Kedrosky)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Eleven Birdies.

Incredible second-round performance by Anthony Kim. A great leaderboard (see below). And the great Angel Cabrera is right in the thick of it.  

Masters Widget

Mickey Kaus.

Why is it that Mickey Kaus covers the politics and substance of immigration policy better than anyone in journalism?  More evidence, if any is needed, here.

Globe Unions Dig In.

The New York Times needs a narrative "turning point" (or, perhaps, "a narrative point of no return") to put the Boston Globe newspaper into bankruptcy. NYT management is betting that the Globe's unions will provide them with just such a vehicle. And, as if on cue, the unions do not disappoint.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Chart of the Day.

What do you suppose the trailing P/E ratio of the S&P 500 might be? Click here to find out! Read the whole thing.

Copy for Kausfiles.

The New York Times is reporting that the Obama Administration will open a new front on immigration reform. This from an Adminstration that, in the middle of the greatest economic crisis since GD1, still has not properly staffed the Treasury Department. One would think: first things first, no?  

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Brown Fat.

And you thought only infants had calorie burning brown fat? As Jim Cramer used to say: Wrong!

Owned Enemies.

Talk about ingratitude!  Berkshire Hathaway owns Moody's!  (Okay, it's a minority-owned affiliate of Berkshire).  

A Good New Book.

My friend and former editor Alan Webber has a new book coming out, entitled Rules of Thumb.  He wrote this book without telling anybody about it and he hasn't sent out review copies (that I know of), but I'm reliably informed that it's very, very good. Alan has always done great work, whether he was editing The Harvard Business Review, creating Fast Company or thinking through business issues. 

Newspapers vs. Google.

Google accounts for a daily avalanche of their on-line traffic, but never mind about that! Newspaper publishers and editors are mad at Google and they're not going to take it any more. The entirely appropriate response to this ludicrous posturing can be found here.  (via SAI)

Bail-Out For Dummies, Part One.

Zero Hedge provides a useful primer on the "issues" that bedevil the financial system and the government's efforts to save it. This is worth reading in full.

Send Them A Message They'll Never Forget.

In California and New York, one can almost feel the tax revolt movement being re-energized. New York doesn't have a policy-setting initiative process.  But California does. And here comes Proposition 13 Redux

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Best Quote of the Week.

Michelle Obama on her husband:

"He's always asking 'Is that new? I haven't seen that before.' It is like, 'Why don't you mind your own business? Solve world hunger. Get out of my closet!'"   -- from the Star magazine.

Financial Products Gone Wild.

From The Times of London:

Toxic debts racked up by banks and insurers could spiral to $4 trillion (£2.7 trillion), new forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are set to suggest.

The IMF said in January that it expected the deterioration in US-originated assets to reach $2.2 trillion by the end of next year, but it is understood to be looking at raising that to $3.1 trillion in its next assessment of the global economy, due to be published on April 21. In addition, it is likely to boost that total by $900 billion for toxic assets originated in Europe and Asia.

Banks and insurers, which so far have owned up to $1.29 trillion in toxic assets, are facing increasing losses as the deepening recession takes a toll, adding to the debts racked up from sub-prime mortgages. The IMF's new forecast, which could be revised again before the end of the month, will come as a blow to governments that have already pumped billions into the banking system.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Welcome to Connecticut.

When does the great exodus begin?  That's the question.

Incredible Photographs.

These are worth looking at from beginning to end.

Play Ball.

The season opener turned out to be a gem from Derek Lowe.  

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Future of The Boston Globe.

The problem with the Boston Globe is this: (1) it has very large unfunded ($100mm-plus) liabilities, (2) it has union contracts that are unsustainable, (3) it's advertising revenue is down more than 60% from just two years ago, (4) it loses (it says) about $7 million a month, and (5) its parent company is in acute financial distress.

I happen to know this because I recently worked with an investor group that was interested in acquiring the Globe from the New York Times. We did as much open source research as we could (the Globe is not officially for sale) before deciding that the situation was hopeless. No one will buy it unless the unfunded liabilities are made to go away and the union contracts are voided. That isn't an opinion, it's a fact. So the only option is some kind of pre-packaged bankruptcy.

The Globe's situation is made more perilous by the fact that The International Herald Tribune is likewise losing money hand over fist. For some reason, NYT's management believes that it would cost more to shut the IHT down than it does to keep it going (and losing money). I am at a loss as to how this could be true, but perhaps someone can explain it to me.

Anyway, both the Globe losses and the IHT losses are dragging down the New York Times Company. The company needs to get one of them (at least) off its balance sheet. Quickly. If they don't, Carlos Slim will be the new owner of the New York Times in 2010.

Coming Soon, Paeans Radio.

The AP reports on the news of North Korea's "satellite launch:"

Four hours after the launch, North Korea declared it a success. An experimental communications satellite reached outer space in just over nine minutes and is orbiting Earth, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said from Pyongyang.

"The satellite is transmitting the melodies of the immortal revolutionary paeans 'Song of Gen. Kim Il Sung' and 'Song of Gen. Kim Jong Il' as well as measurement data back to Earth," it said, referring to the country's late founder and his son, its current leader.