Morning Report 7/31/12

No MR this week either.  Working on the West Coast and the tech gremlins aren’t cooperating.  Will try later this week, but so far having too many difficulties..

MORNING FILLER 7/31/12

Rs and Ds think they have a six month stopgap compromise on spending that they will get to after their recess, during the last six days of the fiscal year.  Apparently they are staying within the Budget Control Act guidelines they set when they settled the debt ceiling extension.

http://thehill.com/homenews/news/241183-stopgap-spending-to-wait-until-after-august-break?wpisrc=nl_wonk

Apparently flooding the financial world with money from central banks does not increase lending or stimulate the economy.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-30/central-banks-unorthodox-actions-are-cutting-lending.html?wpisrc=nl_wonk

Today would have been Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday.  My own undergraduate education was influenced greatly by Mr. Friedman.  The Economist offers this:

http://www.economist.com/node/21559622

Brent – you were supposed to return yesterday.  If you see this, and let us know when you will return, I will try to post a tres faux morning report until then.  But expecting the real thing, now I will only post filler!

MORNING FILLER 7/30/12

Evidence of actual “reshoring”, courtesy of Bsimon:

3M, Miken Sports, Datacard and the Outdoor GreatRoom in Eagan are among the dozen Minnesota companies that have moved production back to the United States and have created jobs in the last two years.

http://www.startribune.com/business/164214466.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=y#continue

Sunny Fundays

In the tradition of his talking cigarettes and joints, Gary Trudeau has added a new character, Jimmy Crow, to anthropize the voter disenfranchisement trend.

You expect this sort of pointed political commentary from Doonesbury, but you don’t expect Marmaduke to be doing topical pointed election humor.

In this case, they are clearly making fun of the recent news stories about household pets getting voter application notices.

For our more finance and market oriented ATiMers, can there be a more succinct explanation of the Greater Fool theory than this comic:

Finally, I will not pass comment on the veracity of the assertations in this strip.

See you in the funny papers.

Mystery Saturday

This is a very strange story.  I’m not saying I believe it as I have no idea how the pool of people was identified or how large it is, but it is curious if the pool is relatively small.  I’m a mystery nut though.  This would make a great “Pelican Brief” type of story if anyone has writing aspirations.

The Mysterious Deaths of Nine Gulf Oil Spill Whistleblowers

In the past year, nine vocal critics or potential whistleblowers of the Gulf oil spill all died in extremely mysterious ways. [Ed note: two others are also included here: one missing, one jailed.] Their deaths could be strange, unrelated coincidences. Or they could have been killed as part of a conspiracy to silence those who were speaking out against the worst oil spill in American history.

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I’d love to hear what Mike thinks of the story below.

Two more men with HIV now virus-free. Is this a cure?

Two men unlucky enough to get both HIV and cancer have been seemingly cleared of the virus, raising hope that science may yet find a way to cure for the infection that causes AIDS, 30 years into the epidemic.

The researchers are cautious in declaring the two men cured, but more than two years after receiving bone marrow transplants, HIV can’t be detected anywhere in their bodies. These two new cases are reminiscent of the so-called “Berlin patient,” the only person known to have been cured of infection from the human immunodeficiency virus.

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And if you’re interested in this sort of thing here’s a story from Africa.

Signs Found of Mysterious Neanderthal ‘Sister Species’

Newly discovered bits of “foreign DNA” in modern Africans indicate that a mysterious “sister species” may have walked the earth with Neanderthals and humans, according to scientists. The DNA doesn’t resemble DNA from any modern-day humans, nor from Neanderthals, whose DNA sometimes shows up in modern-day Europeans. “We’re calling this a Neanderthal sibling species in Africa,” said Joshua Akey of the University of Washington. He believes human interbreeding occurred with the mystery species 20,000 to 50,000 years ago when Neanderthals were waning in Europe, and modern humans were beginning to spread out from Africa, reports the Washington Post.

Bites and Pieces: FroYo Ho Ho

Hi all,

I’ve been fairly quiet, mainly due to a change in my commute. Replacing a 20 – 25 minute drive with a 65 – 70 minute bike ride has been fun, but pretty much left me with no spare energy but to make dinner, watch a bit of TV or a movie, and go to bed.

WIth the summer heat in full swing, I thought I’d post a summertime recipe. Frozen yogurt places have been popping up like summer dandelions. Nearly all the pleasure of ice cream and half the guilt. A Crave popped up in the shopping center next to my place. It’s fun, but can be expensive. So, we (well, my wife) picked up an ice cream maker at Costco. It ran a bit over $30 and has already paid for itself.

You can find many ice cream and frozen yogurt recipes on line, so there’s no need to go into all that. Last week, I heard a story on NPR’s The Splendid Table about how to make frozen yogurt. Jeni Bauer owns a number of ice cream shops in Ohio and wrote a book on making ice cream and frozen yogurt with home equipment. She bought a few home ice cream makers and experimented until she found a way to produce great ice cream. I’ve liked the FroYo we’ve made at home, but this stuff takes it to another level.

There are a couple of tricks to her method. First, bring the milk and sugar up to a boil and add a cornstarch slurry. Boil for a minute longer until it thickens. Second, add this mixture to two ounces of whisked cream cheese. Add the yogurt and flavorings to this base and chill in an ice water bath before using the ice cream maker.

The recipe published on Splendid Table is a lemon frozen yogurt. I modified Jeni’s recipe slightly. Hers calls for putting a quart of yogurt in a sieve, letting it drain for 6 – 8 hours, and then using 1 1/4 cups of the drained yogurt. We keep Greek yogurt at home and I think that works just fine. The original recipe calls for including the lemon zest in the main mixture and picking it out. Such a pain! I’ve long made lemonade syrup by boiling lemon juice, sugar, and lemon zest. The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of corn sugar. We don’t keep corn syrup around at home, so I omit the corn syrup and used a bit more sugar in the lemon syrup.

Lemon Frozen Yogurt

Excerpted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Homeby Jeni Britton Bauer. (Artisan Books, 2011)

Lemon Syrup

  • 2 – 3 lemons (sufficient for 1/2 cup of juice)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Zest from 1 lemon (or all if you like)

Yogurt Base

  • 2 – 3 cups of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or omit cream and use two cups milk)
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5/6 cup sugar

Method

Remove zest from one lemon in strips. Juice lemons to make 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Combine zest, lemon juice, and sugar in small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Set aside.

Whisk cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth.

Add two tablespoons of milk to the corn starch and mix to make a slurry. A fork is fine for this.

Combine remaining milk, cream, and sugar in 4 quart nonstick pot and bring to a boil. Boil for about 4 minutes, stirring, then whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Cook until the mixture thickens, about one minute. Stir the mixture into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Add the yogurt and lemon syrup (after straining out the zest) and chill in an ice water bath. [I used nested bowls, but you could also pour the mixture into a freezer bag.] Put in the cannister of the ice cream maker and spin until thick and smooth. Pour into a container, cover the surface with wax or parchment paper, and freeze for at least four hours to set up.

Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

Chocolate Syrup

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Yogurt Base

  • 1 quart of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or omit cream and use two cups milk)
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Method

Combine cocoa powder, sugar, and waterin small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Whisk smooth and set aside.

Whisk cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth.

Add two tablespoons of milk to the corn starch and mix to make a slurry. A fork is fine for this.

Combine remaining milk, cream, and sugar in 4 quart nonstick pot and bring to a boil. Boil for about 4 minutes, stirring, then whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Cook until the mixture thickens, about one minute. Stir the mixture into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Add the yogurt and chocolate syrup and chill in an ice water bath. Put in the cannister of the ice cream maker and spin until thick and smooth. Pour into a container, cover the surface with wax or parchment paper, and freeze for at least four hours to set up.

TRES FAUX MORNING REPORT 7/27/12

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P 500
1,371.56
+11.54 +01.75%
Eurostoxx Index
2,290.49
+39.44 +1.91%
Oil (WTI) 90.01 0.62 0.69%
LIBOR 0.45 -0.002 -0.41%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 82.51 -0.31 -0.37%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.51% +0.076%

WaPo:

ECB chief Mario Draghi said the words that many worried European officials had longed to hear: ‘Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. . . . Believe me, it will be enough,’ he said.

I apologize for the brevity – I barely had time for this.


Ezra Klein has been substituting on The Rachel Maddow Show this week and has been doing a series of short video explanations of some of the financial stuff going on lately.  Here’s his one on LIBOR:

#48311494

Between this and Scott’s series I think I actually understand LIBOR and why it’s a problem if the rates were actually manipulated now.


Here’s his explanation for how and why to break up the big banks:

#48329251


And here’s his translation of this sentence from the Bloomberg site: Draghi: Yields disrupting policy transmission are in ECB remit

#48347263


Ezra has gotten better and better on-camera, and I’ve enjoyed the way he’s able to boil complex concepts down verbally now as well as “on paper.”

Michigoose’s contribution to our collective financial expertise

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