Bits & Pieces (Thursday Night Open Mic)

Nick Pitera is a one-man Disney movie. His Aladdin is dead-on but, beyond that, his vocal range is very impressive.

So, what’s his day job? An animator for Pixar. I hate him.

Speaking of people to hate. This kid covering Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” is apparently 11 years old. I was drawing comic books filled with stick figures at age 11.

Or, he was 11 at the time. Anyhoo, his name is Greyson Chance and he’s well on his way to Beiber-dom. You will, I expect, be hearing a lot about him in the near future. Especially if you have any Beiber-loving-aged children. He’s been on Ellen. I just stumbled across him, but clearly he’s about 10 minutes from exploding all over pop culture.

That’s been your pop culture minute. — KW


Joe Biden: oppose Obamajobs, oppose rape prevention.

Is this the new civility, the new elder statemanship, the new gravitas? — QB

Morning Report

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1206.4 -0.2 -0.02%
Eurostoxx Index 2307 -23.050 -0.99%
Oil (WTI) 85.74 -0.370 -0.43%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 77.161 0.096 0.12%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.17% 0.01%

Initial Jobless Claims came in at 403k, slightly higher than the 400k estimate. Later this morning, we will get Leading Economic Indicators, Philly Fed, and Existing Home Sales. It will be interesting to see if the Existing Home Sales confirms some of the increase in activity we are seeing from the homebuilders. Yesterday we saw some big prints in the call options for Toll Brothers and D.R. Horton. (14,000 contracts). It looks like others are positioning themselves ahead of earnings announcements. NVR’s earnings were a mixed bag this morning. Something to keep an eye on.

Other companies reporting today / last night: PM, LLY, EBAY, NUE

Steve Wynn went on another epic rant on his earnings conference call yesterday. Here is the audio and transcript: Wynn Resorts 3Q conference call

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Thought I’d add a link to Huntsman’s WSJ op-ed on TBTF. Not being a financial guy, I was surprised by the following numbers:

More than three years after the crisis and the accompanying bailouts, the six largest American financial institutions are significantly bigger than they were before the crisis, having been encouraged to snap up Bear Stearns and other competitors at bargain prices. These banks now have assets worth over 66% of gross domestic product—at least $9.4 trillion, up from 20% of GDP in the 1990s. There is no evidence that institutions of this size add sufficient value to offset the systemic risk they pose.

The major banks’ too-big-to-fail status gives them a comparative advantage in borrowing over their competitors thanks to the federal bailout backstop. This funding subsidy amounts to roughly 50 basis points, or one-half of a percentage point in today’s market.

Huntsman on TBTF

— Mike

Manufacturing Inequality

I’ve been arguing for a long time that the dire claims of vastly increased income inequality, and particularly the claim that only the super-rich have made any gains since 1980, are wildly exaggerated at best and complete bunk at worst. James Pethokoukis has a post at Enterprise Blog making this case and citing academic papers supporting it.

On the claim that only the rich have gained, he links to a 2006 column on Brad DeLong’s cite by Jason Furman, now deputy director of Obama’s National Economic Council, making among others the point that all we have to do is use our eyes and our common sense to realize that, yes, we are all better off, with better standard of living than we had thirty years ago. Economic analyses purporting to show that the middle class has made no gains in thirty years plainly are at odds with reality. Believe what your eyes tell you, not the statistical magic tricks of (consistently) committed liberals invested in “rising inequality.” To pat myself on the back, I made this argument many times in the comments at PL, to the great outrage of “fact-based” liberals–great outrage but never any effective answer.

Similar statistical hanky panky underlies most of the claims of wildly increased disparities in wealth, like the now ubiquitous alarm that “400 people own more wealth than the bottom 150,000,000!” These measures almost invariably arrive at a predetermined conclusion by counting only the kinds of “wealth” that are most concentrated among the wealthy. But I’ll revisit that one later.

H/T Glenn Reynolds

Morning Nuggets

Mmm. Why have donuts when you can eat crispy processed O-shaped bits of wheat-and/or-corn paste briefly baked on an industrial conveyor belt? Well, sorry, you can’t—at least not like this. Dunkin’ Donuts Cereal is gone with the wind. 

This News Briefs from the Daily. It talks about the Onion Field Killer, but I was more struck by record number of deportations. The Obama administration (a) isn’t messin’ around and (b) apparently decided the answer to the constant rhetorical question: “What are you doing to do, deport them all?” was “Yes, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

The problem with protest groups like OWS? There’s no screening. Anybody can come in, claim to be part of the “movement”, and go straight to causing mayhem.

Apparently, a lot of folks at the Occupy Wall Street protests are having their wealth redistributed for them. Smell that? Does it smell like irony?

NewsBusters say the media is not being harder on Obama than GOP candidates, but, even if so, I don’t recall this comparison being made between how the media was treating the Democratic candidates and George W. Bush in 2004. Which would be a more apples to apples comparison.

Is this the OWS folks Declaration of Independence? Thomas Jefferson might be proud (the blood of patriots and tyrants is the natural manure of the Tree of Liberty, after all) but it’s not 1776. Also, I though the grievances in 1776 were a little more concise. Might just be history bias.

If you sold your Apple Stock recently, MG Seigler says your an idiot. My dad sold $10,000 of Apple stock at $14 a share shortly before Steve Jobs came back (with my encouragement). If I’m calculating the splits right (I’m no financial expert), the two 2:1 splits means that each $14 share would be worth $1600 now. For a total of $1,143,514.00 dollars. You want to talk about being an idiot when you sold your Apple stock . . .

Most of that $10,000 went into dot.com stocks that evaporated. Yay, irrational exuberance! I invest in coffee cans now.

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