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Showing posts from December, 2008

Win Ben Stein's Money

About a month ago on this blog, Negocios Loucos took author/television host/Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein to task for being, well, an idiot. His financial prognostications have been far from prescient.

Mr. Stein didn't have the cajones to respond directly to the W.C. Varones blog, but he did offer a spirited defense in the New York Times. I guess he is America's Most Smartest Financial Advisor, because he didn't fall for the Madoff pitch:
They assured me that this genius had found a way to spot market inefficiencies and, indeed, to make money off a perfect hedge.I thanked them for their time and promptly looked up Bernard Madoff online. Nothing I saw was even a bit convincing that he had made a breakthrough in financial theory. Okay, it's not much of a defense: I politely passed and went on my way, finding my own inventive ways to lose money on a colossal scale during these last 15 months.

One from the vault

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(Note: These cartoons are here to fill in the gaps while Our Dear Leader lazes in Mexico. If you want more of this stuff, check out my blog here.)
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Fed to Bailout the NFL?

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No, not the entire league. That'd be too socialist. But why won't the Fed and Bush consider bailing out certain teams that are "too important to fail"? Two such teams, which are long-time "pillars" of the league, are the Bears and the Cowboys. The Bears are THE team that FOUNDED the league! Certainly we can't afford for them to NOT make the playoffs this year, just because in recent years they've made bad investment decisions in regards to players and coaches! That's not reason enough to refuse a bailout. That would be a travesty beyond all travesties. In this case, surely it would be appropriate to "save fair athletic competition by temporarily suspending fair athletic competition". If our government won't step in when things get this bad for the Bears, then what is it good for? Think of all the poor people!

Yes, the Bush/Paulson crew should use their muscle and their vast printing powers to INSTALL the Bears into the 2008-2009 Pla…

Ain't That America...

From the sports desk at W.C. Varones world headquarters comes this - does anything exemplify America more than the National Football League? The regular season ended today and a few results stick out to me:
The Ford (as in the car company) family owned Detroit Lions became the first team in NFL history to go 0-16. They were pure failures, and the architect of this achievement was Matt Millen, an NFL broadcaster hired (and fired a few months ago) for his first management position--as the CEO and President of this silly organization. Since his arrival in 2001, the team went 31-84. That's easily the worst management record for that number of games in NFL history. Given it was the Ford Motor Company's brain trust that hired this guy, this result is not surprising at all. What's surprising is that Congress didn't make a law that the Lions play in the Super Bowl anyway.
The 11-5 New England Patriots did not make the playoffs, to determine the best team in the league, whi…

Three Dog Bakery

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In a recent Del Mar CRE survey, we commented on the "Coming Soon" Three Dog Bakery. Well, they still haven't opened, which is a good thing, because it is like so annoying to have to deal with all those customers out holiday shopping. Better to wait for gloomy, rainy January days to open so the shopkeeper can surf the Internet all day without interruption.



But who opens a dog bakery anyway? You might have to be the dumbest person on earth to fork over franchise fees to somebody for an idea as stupid as a dog bakery. Who needs gourmet dog food after the consumer bubble has burst? People are going to be eating dog food, not the other way around.

Perspective

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Disaster in this country...

...and everyday life in another.

Quotations from Chairman Varones

You have become old when the fear of what you have to lose occupies you more than does the hope of what you have to gain.
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Greenspan's Body Count: Randy Motts is 69, dude

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In today's episode of Greenspan's Body Count, Randy Motts was a great car salesman who ended up buying the dealership... and then leveraged himself to the hilt just as Greenspan's bubble came crashing down:

According to multiple sources, Motts death was the result of a suicide. Police were summoned to the family's home on Tuesday morning with a report of a possible self-inflicted gunshot wound.

[...]

Motts' dealership had just undergone expansion, with the opening of an Abeloff Nissan at a new sprawling, five-acre location on Route 611 in Bartonsville.

"Nissan wanted Randy to build a new dealership. Nissan insisted it," Abeloff said.

Motts spent about $3.5 million, and had to put up his home as collateral for the loan, according to Abeloff.

"That was the beginning of his worries. To get the mortgage, he had to put his house up. That's what worried him. That spread him a little thin," Abeloff said.

Oil prices and the economy affected the Buick/Ponti…

Playing pool with a rope

I've been thinking a lot about how this will play out when Zimbabwe Ben prints infinite quantities of money to try to stave off deflation/depression. My current view is that Bernanke (along with our reckless fiscal policy) will succeed at destroying the dollar, but this won't bring back the economy. Something like ultrastaghyperinflation.

Mish consistently has some of the most thoughtful analysis, but if you want a concise one-pager in layman's terms, read it here at Denninger's.

Bad Santa

This guy wasn't one of those perverted Santas; he really did have a gun in his pocket. A man dressed as Santa Claus showed up at a Christmas Eve party at a suburban Los Angeles house and opened fire with a handgun, killing three people and wounding two, police said on Thursday.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everybody!

May 2009 bring you and your family many, many government bailouts.

Health Care in America

It seems I'm one of the few supporters of our health care system. I spent the better part of 2 years deeply involved with the health care industry as a patient. I can say that while there are areas in need of improvement, (e.g. bitchy ER admins that think they are qualified to diagnose) I can say without hesitation that I would not want to be in any other country to receive treatment. Certainly not Canada or the UK.

I also believe we have a suitable insurance system. I am concerned with rising costs but I am opposed to this notion of Universal Health Care. Everyone does not deserve the same health care from the same administrator. A smoker should definitely pay more than I do for insurance. I'm concerned that in the universal world of Obama that might not be the case.

This well stated commentary from the Chicago Tribune describes my concerns for the proposed health care in our workers paradise.

You admit you suck, Cox

In You suck, Cox, we wrote:
SEC Chairman Christopher Cox became flustered when John McCain attacked him for not making stocks go up.

You don't want to see a cowardly politician when he's flustered.

Cox tried to appease McCain by lashing out at short-sellers about the financial crisis, which is roughly equivalent to lashing out at Siskel & Ebert for the box office failure of Waterworld. In his ill-considered, late-night order, Cox banned the short-selling of all "financial" stocks, throwing the market into chaos. The order was like changing the poker rules after everyone has placed their bets: "Okay everyone, deuces wild!" This is not how developed markets operate. Welcome to the new emerging market of 2008.
Now, the coward Cox confirms the story, though he blames Paulson, not McCain, for bullying him:
Cox said the biggest mistake of his tenure was agreeing in September to an extraordinary three-week ban on short selling of financial company stocks. But i…

Del Mar CRE update

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Another one bites the dust.



Nice spot for an office, right in the middle of the old Del Mar village. It would be a nice place to hang out if you didn't need to work much. It's in the same building as Bing I. Bush, local lawyer and Obama fanatic.

Prior Del Mar CRE surveys here, here, and here. It doesn't look like any of those vacancies have been filled.

UPDATE: Speaking of Bing I. Bush, I just looked him up and he's a horse lawyer. I wonder if he was involved in this case.

Body Count: Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet

Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet committed suicide Monday night, not because his parents named him Rene, but because he lost all of his, and his clients', money in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.

We seriously considered adding this death to the list of Greenspan's Body Count, for easy money bubbles facilitate all sorts of schemes, including those of the Ponzi variety. However, a direct link from Madoff to Alan Greenspan was too tenuous. Madoff could have run such a Ponzi scheme even in the absense of Greenspan's bubble.

There does exist, though, a direct and incontrovertible link from Madoff to the incompetent SEC, headed by Christoper Cox (Cox has been featured on this blog before in the post You suck, Cox). Cox's SEC not only failed to discover the massive, obvious fraud for years, but even couldn't find the fraud when they were specifically and repeatedly told by outsiders that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme.

Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, welcome…

Schwarzenegger: a girly man serving Democrat whims

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California's budget disaster, caused by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger increasing spending 40% in four years, continues.

Decades ago, California voters passed Proposition 13, which requires a 2/3 vote in the legislature to raise taxes. Since then, this has been at least a minimal restraint on runaway spending and taxes.

Until now. Democrats, lacking a 2/3 majority to raise taxes, unilaterally declared that if they just call taxes "fees," they don't need a 2/3 majority. Among the taxes they plan to raise: income taxes and sales taxes. Fees indeed. California already has the highest income taxes and sales taxes in the nation.

Schwarzenegger, who as recently as Friday publicly called the scheme "illegal," has already flip-flopped and said he wants to do a deal with the Democrats.


Hat tip for the poster: some guy at redstate.

The reason for the season

Don't forget the less fortunate this holiday season.

Greenspan's Body Count: Kristy Hunt, MBS pusher

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Two Body Count updates in one day! Serial killer Alan Greenspan certainly has been busy.

Kristy Hunt was a "secondary market manager" in the mortgage division of Missouri's Community Bank and Trust. Presumably, that means she packaged and sold mortgage securities to dupes (here's a job description for the same title at another bank).

Well, she resigned from the bank and then offed herself a few days later. Maybe she felt remorse over the toxic waste she sold her customers, or maybe she just hit hard times when the commissions and bonuses from the mortgage bubble stopped coming in. Either way, it's another notch on the belt for Greenspan's Body Count.
An autopsy of Joplin banker Kristy Hunt has revealed she died of self-inflicted wounds, the Joplin Police Department said Thursday.

Hunt, 49, reportedly worked as secondary market manager for Community Bank & Trust's mortgage department at the bank's 414 E. 32nd St. location in Joplin, before resigni…

Greenspan's Body Count: The Tale of Jim Kurtenbach and Joseph Nesheiwat

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Today's episode of Greenspan's Body Count comes from W.C. Varones' own backyard: the town of Ramona in rural San Diego County. That's not surprising, as we live in one of the epicenters of Greenspan's housing bubble.

James Kurtenbach was underwater on a property and allegedly decided to burn his way out. Why he would kill a loyal employee in the process is not clear:
A Ramona gas-station owner accused of murder and arson once told a witness he wished his rental house had burned down during the Witch Creek fire in 2007, a prosecutor said Monday.

On Halloween, an explosion and fire destroyed the Ramona home and killed a gas-station employee.

James Kurtenbach, 47, of Poway, pleaded not guilty Monday to multiple felonies, including second-degree murder, arson for financial gain, and arson causing great bodily injury.

Joseph Nesheiwat, 24, was found Oct. 31, critically injured in the backyard of the vacant house after the explosion. He died of massive burns and smoke inh…

Next up on Bailout Nation

Every crappy, overleveraged real estate developer.

Well, now that we've bailed out bad banks and bad auto companies, how can we say no to poor little mall and office building developers?

Zimbabwe Ben can just print a few trillion more dollars.

Once in a while, you get shown the light

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In November 2004, I voted for this man,



whom I loathed and would later show to be the world's biggest douchebag.

My reasoning was that Bush was botching the execution of the Iraq War, and that a Euroweenie like John Kerry might kiss the ass of the corrupt and incompetent U.N. and get them to start helping to stabilize Iraq.

I doubt that would have happened. But a vote against Bush looks pretty good in hindsight, doesn't it? As mocked as Bush is for foreign policy, it's his domestic policy that will ensure that he goes down as the worst President in history. A year ago, it looked like the worst thing Bush would do was Medicare Part D, the greatest expansion of entitlements in decades, which alone was enough to threaten the ability of future governments to meet their obligations. Since then, though, Bush has done so much destruction that Medicare Part D looks like a footnote.

Bush has nationalized the entire U.S. financial sector. If someone had predicted that four years, t…

I left my heart in San Francisco

I flew to cracktown Oakland Friday afternoon because all the flights into Frisco were delayed. I took BART into SF. You see, they have this thing called "public transportation" in the Bay Area. It's fast, efficient, and cheap. You people in Southern California should try it some time. The only downside is that there are poor people on public transportation. If we could just keep the poor people off of public transportation, that would be perfect.

Arriving at the Powell Street station, I was greeted by eight or so people wearing Guy Fawkes ("V") masks and Santa hats. They were from the underground group Anonymous, passing out literature against the Scientology cult.

As I walked up Nob Hill among the bustling crowd of Christmas shoppers, tourists, and office workers heading home, I passed a young man holding a sign that said "Banker. Need bailout. Please give me $700 billion." He didn't appear to be homeless or a beggar, just someone who wan…

As Rufus might say...

Once we get out of the oughties, the teens are gonna make the seventies look like the eighties.

We're so pretty, oh so pretty

Dining out in the Depression

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In the worst of times, an occasional indulgence can help lift the spirits.

Souplantation (aka Sweet Tomatoes in some regions) is an excellent way to have a healthy meal out that won't bust your budget. It's all-you-can-eat for under $9 including tax. Kids get great discounts, from free for toddlers to a couple bucks for 5-year-olds and scaling higher up to age 12.

Sign up for their ClubVeg, and you'll get e-mailed coupons like this, which is good today through Sunday. Print it out and take a date for $14. And if you don't get any action for your efforts, well, that's the last time you'll call her.

Why I buy SUVs

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...for those crazy Vegas ski trips.
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CalPERS implodes, just as predicted here

Bernie Madoff had a very short reign as the biggest investment fund fraud in the world. He's just been surpassed by CalPERS, America's largest pension fund. The WSJ explains the collapse:
At the height of the property bubble, California's giant pension fund, Calpers, made a fateful decision: It aggressively poured money into real estate. As a result, today it's one of the biggest owners of undeveloped residential land in America.

[...]

Calpers in recent weeks said it expects to report paper losses of 103% on its housing investments in the fiscal year ended June 30. That's because Calpers invested not only its own money, but billions of dollars of borrowed money that must be repaid even if the investment fails. In some deals, as much as 80% of the money invested by Calpers was borrowed.

And just as some saw Madoff as an obvious fraud, some saw CalPERS as an obvious fraud, too. As we wrote in July:
What a coincidence. While things that have easily observable market pr…

Will he go to prison and live up to his name?

The Financial Times:
No plea bargain has been agreed, and Mr Dikshit, one of India’s richest businessmen, risks a jail sentence of two years. He hopes the DoJ will recommend to Judge Jed Rakoff that, having gone voluntarily to the DoJ, he should not go to jail.

California is CUTTING TAXES!!!

Yippee, finally someone gets it. Finally someone understands that we can't raise taxes so much that it kills spending. Here is the report from the SF Chronicle:

The plan eliminates the current 18-cent-a-gallon excise tax on gasoline as well as the sales tax on gasoline, funds that are typically set aside for transportation projects. Instead, the state's sales tax for all other goods would be raised by half cent, bringing in more revenue for the general fund.
The state would establish a new gas fee - 39 cents a gallon - to pay for transportation projects that previously had been paid for by taxes on gasoline.The legislative source said all of the proposals would require a simple majority vote because the proponents believe "when you reduce tax in one area, you can raise tax in another area" without requiring two-thirds majority by the Legislature.WAIT A SEC!?!? They are eliminating a tax but creating a new FEE!??!? Oh but they are reducing taxes so it is work…

Denial

You can't say you weren't warned. Peter Schiff and Ron Paul warned you.

Greenspan's Body Count: Tom Brisch

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In today's episode of Greenspan's Body Count, Sherry Brisch returned home to a gruesome sight:
Brisch and her husband Tom had been together for 27 years, married for 20, had a lovely home in Wauwatosa and two great kids. They called themselves the Wally World family.

“You know go to Disney every year, just have two kids, a boy and a girl, and a retarded golden retriever, and we're just a regular family,” she said.

But things changed in 2008. In February Sherry lost her job as a radio ad sales executive, and Tom was struggling too. He sold Fords, and with gas over $4 a gallon, cars weren't moving.

“He was a commission-only salesperson, so the economic picture with a kid going to college, another one starting high school ... it was pretty grim and we were struggling,” Birsch said.

Then one morning she returned home from coffee with a friend and found Tom's car still in the driveway. She combed the house, and found Tom hanging by a dog leash from the attic trap door. The f…

Congressional TARP panel wants your input

Tell them what you think about Paulson's TARP, foreclosure mitigation, etc. here.

A Mercer Update

We have provided reports from our favorite urban dwelling in a suburban setting here, here, and here.

The gist of the story is that in Walnut Creek, California you were given the opportunity to pay San Francisco prices but live 26 miles from San Francisco. It was a deal that couldn't possibly fail.

Well unfortunately the combination of a recession and a population of individuals with IQs above 60 have doomed the sales angle of this project.

But have no fear, the Mercer is back, as previously reported, with RENTAL opportunities!

So we thought - what's a nice place going for and what's the real sitch?? We sent some operatives in to have a look. The result: well first off the Mercer has only, ONLY 45 units left to rent! The agents also reported that they were actually excellent apartments, but not worth the $3000/month for a 2 bedroom asking price.

So if you are looking for the San Francisco experience, minus San Francisco, look no further than Mercer Homes. The price and cramped …

Subsidized housing in Del Mar

I noticed a condo for rent today in Del Mar near the beach. It caught my eye because the place had been for sale for a year before finally selling in April.

The buyers paid $2.55 million for it. Now they are trying to rent it for $6500.

Zoinks. A 6.5% mortgage on that will run you over $16,000 a month. Property taxes are more than $2300 a month. Add a few hundred more for insurance, maintenance, and/or HOA, and the cost of carry is around $19,000 a month. So even if these people find tenants in this market at $6500 a month, they are paying $12,500 a month for the privilege of being landlords.

I hope they had a great summer in that place, because they're going to be paying for it for a while!

CORRECTION: These are two different condos on the same block. Same story though, except the rent price is now $25,000 per month!

If you think investing in a Ponzi scheme is a bad idea...Nomura

... how about borrowing money so you can leverage up 3-to-1 to invest in a Ponzi scheme?

That's what Nomura and Neue Private Bank (NPB) did. You can read their marketing piece here.

It sounds like Nomura/NPB's customers are limited to losing what they put in (100%), so Nomura is going to have to pony up the other 200%. Sucks to be them!

Madoff Ponzi scheme has lots of great names

The Madoff Ponzi scheme has names that sound like they came out of a work of fiction. First of all, Bernie "Madoff" with their money. Secondly, a couple of the victims were named Nicola Horlick and J. Ezra Merkin. Nicola may have to turn to eponymous employment, and J. Ezra may have to pawn his Merkin.

UPDATE:The Sinkin Family! This is not a joke!

Building a Religion

Urgent child safety seat recall

DVS received this chilling notification about the child safety seat to which he had entrusted the lives of his young children:
As a valued Toys"R"Us customer, we wanted to make you aware that our records indicate you have purchased a product from Toys"R"Us which has now been recalled by the manufacturer. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a voluntary recall of select Graco/Century items.

Consumers should cease use of these Graco/Century, ComfortSport™ Car Seats immediately. Please click here for additional product recall information.

Sincerely,

Toysrus.com
Wow. A well-known children's safety product company like Graco manufacturing death traps for toddlers. Who can you trust these days?

When you click through to the additional information, you see how deadly the product is:
A number of Frazier™ComfortSport™Convertible car seats, manufactured from November 1, 2006 through October 8, 2007, were produced with an optional “ body pillow” that partially …

What UAW goon Ron Middlefinger was defending when he torpedoed the Detroit bailout

Twenty-two pounds of union work rules.

His gamble paid off though, as Bush and Paulson are going to sell your children deeper into debt in order to keep paying union workers for sitting at home on the couch.

From the I-Told-You-So Department

California faces financial meltdown as debt grows by $1.7m an hour

The California budget situation is completely out of control. Raise taxes and you'll drive the last few productive people out of state. Slash spending and you'll add thousands of layoffs to an already bleak economy.

Arnold Schwarzenegger destroyed California with his reckless spending during the boom years:
At the time Mr Schwarzenegger promised an end to California’s tax-and-spend policies and runaway expenses, yet over the past four years of his administration the state’s budget has grown by 40 per cent to $144.5 billion.
How will this play out? I predict a huge federal bailout for California and any other states that need it. If we are going to throw away hundreds of billions of dollars on single companies like AIG and Citigroup, we can certainly spare tens of billions for the states.

A Senator who gets it

Jim DeMint:
“If you look at where we’re going, we’re not on a sustainable course as a country,” DeMint said. “Frankly, GM is in a better financial situation than we are as a country. The only difference is we can print money. But as other countries around the world lose confidence in the value of a dollar – that’s going to come home very shortly.”

How do you value a donut?

Stock market yammerers talk about stocks being cheap right now. Earnings on the S&P 500 are expected to come in around $67 this year, meaning that the P/E ratio is around 13 at today's 873 close. 13 may sound cheap to someone who grew up in the 90's, but compared to the last century, 13 is an average-to-high P/E. Ratios at major stock market bottoms are usually in the single digits. Put a common trough multiple of 7 on those earnings, and you get S&P 473, or about Dow 4600.

That's just the multiple; what about the E in the denominator? Is 2008's $67 the trough for earnings? Wall Street analysts think so, putting a $85.56 estimate out there for 2009 earnings. Wow, 26.6% earnings growth in what everybody keeps saying is the worst recession since the Great Depression! I can't imagine how you get there, but that's why they don't pay me the big bucks.

Let's pretend for a moment that earnings might not jump 26.6% year-over-year. Some bearish ty…

This surprised me a little bit

I was surprised when I tuned in to Obama's press conference this morning and heard him begin by saying, "I did not have [political] relations.....with that Governor....Rod Blagojevich."

Boycott the Bailout Babies

The sleazy Detroit automakers are trying to blackmail Congress into preventing a bankruptcy, claiming that the public would not buy cars from a bankrupt company (which is nonsense. The Feds would guarantee people's warranties, and the automakers would continue making and servicing cars. Do you know people who refuse to fly United because they've been through bankruptcy?). The real reason is that in bankruptcy, stock and bondholders lose money, management loses pay packages and/or their jobs, and workers lose their overly generous benefits. So this isn't about keeping the automakers alive; it's about taxpayers bailing out investors, management, and unions. When you invest in a bad company, you're supposed to lose money. That's the way capitalism works. You're not supposed to go crying to the government that your industry is special so you deserve a handout. Bankruptcy is ideal for this situation. They shed the crushing debt, the unmanageable pension…

Not our new Pet Rock President (elect)? Not him. Impossible

From this Chicagoan....I'll include more detail when I edit this post later, but our IL governor Blago, arrested on federal corruption charges, cut his political teeth as a staff member in Ed Vrdolyak's office. Ed V was convicted on Federal corruption charges. So it seems Blago learned from the one of the best.

But...3 of the chief political strategists who worked on Blago's first campaign to become Governor, back in 2002, were Obama himself, Rahm Emanuel, and Emil Jones (Obama calls him his political mentor). Then, in 2005, Blago was already under federal investigation. Everyone in the state knew it b/c the Chicago Tribune put it in front page headlines. All the state politicians already knew how Blago did business. "Pay for Play".

And yet, in 2006, as Blago was under federal investigation, Obama AGAIN worked for Blago's re-election campaign, giving stump speeches for him, etc.... why would a squeaky clean uber-man like Obama ever support a known-to-be corrup…

Truth in advertising

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Happy Day without a Gay!

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Tomorrow is Day without a Gay, a sort of general strike for gays.



If you're gay, don't forget to take the day off to show everybody how gay you are.

If you're actually sick tomorrow, I'd suggest showing up for work anyway or you'll never hear the end of it.

A Little Southern Sarcasm

Uncle Fred gives us his take on the economy:

After this came the squirt bottle

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One San Diegan's valiant response at the scene of a downed fighter jet.

Sexy girl cop costumes

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... in Pakistan.



From the front page of today's WSJ.

Bill Gross on the Death of Capitalism

When Hank Paulson announced his plans to deplete the Treasury to bail out every bad bank that made bad mortgage loans, we wrote September 19, 2008: The Day Capitalism Died. Though it may have sounded like hyperbole to the untrained ear, we assure you that it wasn't.

In his December 2008 Investment Outlook, bond bailout beggar Bill Gross agrees:
My transgenerational stock market outlook is this: stocks are cheap when valued within the context of a financed-based economy once dominated by leverage, cheap financing, and even lower corporate tax rates. That world, however, is in our past not our future. More regulation, lower leverage, higher taxes, and a lack of entrepreneurial testosterone are what we must get used to – that and a government checkbook that allows for healing, but crowds the private sector into an awkward and less productive corner.
Though he is correct about the outlook, Gross is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the serial bailouts. Billionaire Gross's PIMCO p…

Bill Ayers is a bad influence

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Del Mar CRE update

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The past few months we have posted (here and here) on the Del Mar retail and office real estate meltdown, with vacancies piling up like dead racehorses. Today, we revisited the mean streets of Del Mar to see if there had been any improvement.

This is one encouraging sign. The shuttered shoe store featured in last month's update now promises to become a yogurt shop.



Will the rest of Camino del Mar show similar signs of hope?



There's the Three Dog Bakery we ridiculed in October. I knew some guys in college who liked to get their dog baked.

Odd, isn't it, that a new retail shop would be "Coming Soon" for months but not bother to open for the holiday season? But then anyone who pays franchise fees to open a store as stupid as a dog bakery probably doesn't get the whole retail concept. But what's that in the window?



It's a "Notice of Non-Responsibility" posted by the mall owners. Now I'm no lawyer, but I think it means "Notice: the stor…

The Good Consumer

Greenspan's Body Count: Bank Julius Baer-ied alex widmer

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Alex Widmer, CEO of the Swiss Bank Julius Baer, has reportedly just offed himself:

Alex Widmer, the chief executive of Bank Julius Baer and a well respected figure in Swiss private banking, has died unexpectedly at the age of 52, the bank said.

A source told Reuters he had been informed by close friends of Widmer's family that the banker had committed suicide.

Swiss news website 20Minuten cited two unnamed independent sources as saying it was a case of suicide.
Props to Widmer for doing the honorable thing. I hope Mozilo, Fuld, Greenspan, and the rest of them will do the same. Chalk another one up for Greenspan's Body Count.

HT: Negocious Loucos and Rordogma

Greenspan's Body Count now stands at sixty-five:

Alex Widmer
Brian Pugh
Marilyn Lewis
Sid Agrawal
Kirk Stephenson
Barry Fox
Dallas Dwayne Carter
David Hetzel
Sharron Hetzel
Cliff Kendall
Pamela Ross
Roland Gore
Mrs. Gore
Wanda Dunn
Karthik Rajaram
Subasri Rajaram
Krishna Rajaram
Ganesha Rajaram
Arjuna Rajaram
Indra Ramasesham
Joe X
Isabelle Jarka