Thursday, July 23, 2009


Yaaaay!!! Yay!

While it's not the best outcome, compared to what the President is proposing about giving the Federal Reserve more powers to not use (or use incorrectly and/or unevenly), this is a much better outcome.

It's similar to the concept of the 3 branches of government. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the Fed has had too much power for too long as it is. Dividing responsibilities among different organizations will prevent this concentration of power among people who don't give a goddamn about the needs of the citizenry. (Greenspan didn't and Bernanke sure as hell doesn't.) It will also force those other regulatory bodies to build their strengths. The FDIC, CFTC, SEC, OTS, OCC and whomever else gains powers through this legislation have been long neglected in the financial regulatory framework (especially the SEC), with too few strong players on bench to execute their missions. Hopefully, this is the beginning of balancing the Fed's evil powers with less evil powers elsewhere. (Whether there will be good coming out of these other agencies is TBD.)

This makes me happy, sort of! Yay!

P.S.: The Federal Reserve should still be audited. Even if this effort is successful, it doesn't change the need to audit and hopefully dismantle the Fed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Second Order Effects Redux

What was that I once said about second order effects? As my friend Equity Private might say, "Finem Respice".

They Went Thataway!

So CBRE says there is effectively no AAA paper in the CMBS market. The TALF program is only accepting AAA paper to be sold to investors. Did I miss something or does anyone else see a problem here? Seems to me there is a disconnect here.

It also doesn't help that the delays in the TALF implementation will mean a few more months of deterioration in the CMBS market before any paper is moved.

While I originally meant to publish this piece a few weeks ago, the thoughts still stand. Here's a article that I noticed just a few minutes ago. Everyone should think long and hard about this, but I don't see people giving this the consideration it deserves.

"Timberrr!" That could be the sound of the US economy taking another fall, and in very short order. SRS, as a short, looks promising, but what I really need is an unlevered fund. I'll be spending some quality time with ETFConnect to find one.

Until next time, peeps!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Back in the Game


It seems like forever since I posted. I know my readers probably feel similarly.

What happened, you ask?

The short answers is that both Velocity 2009 and Structure 09 happened. Both of these conferences, geared toward the Internet industry, occurred back to back last week in San Jose and San Francisco, respectively. Being employed in this industry, and extremely interested in the issues these conferences cover, it was imperative that I attend both. Along with, I spent some time working in my company's facility in San Jose, CA, which means that I can now officially claim a tax deduction for the airline flight to San Francisco, partial usage of the very nice rental car I gave myself, and my hotel room.

Unfortunately, my company did not see fit to send me to California to learn how to better serve our customers. Well, because, customers aren't that important anyway when you're a monopoly. You're going to get your pound of flesh one way or another, and 2 pounds on a good day. The tax deductibility of the 2 days I did work takes some of the edge off the fact that I was not fully able to enjoy my trip as a "vacation". I think I'll be returning some time in the near future, and I won't be working when I do.

I was in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area from 18 June until 25 June before taking off to Atlanta for a cousin's wedding. I have to admit, spending time in the Bay Area after such a long time away really made me consider moving back to California. There's just something about the thinking, the ecosystem, the infrastructure which has already been put in place and the people who are part of it. I don't generally like most Californians, but that could have a lot to do with spending so much time in southern California. NoCal and SoCal really are 2 separate states. For example, after Structure 09 concluded, Canaan Partners sponsored the post-event cocktail reception at which I met several very interesting people including Andrew Shafer of Reductive Labs and the great Paul Kredrosky himself. For some reason, this kind of experience only seems likely in Silicon Valley.

While I was gone, my positions in UCO and UNG didn't do too much, but they didn't move against me, which was welcome. I'm still monitoring them closely, probably even more closely now than I had been. The time is approaching when I have to unwind some of these positions. I still like the long term potential for natural gas, and I think oil is an obvious play long term. However, I also think short term technical factors may begin moving against both of these positions shortly.

While I'm at it, if anyone has suggestions for an oil ETF besides UCO, please chime in via the comments. I don't like the fact that UCO is an ultra (2x) ETF, for well known reasons. I want something with better characteristics and less inherent risk.

Anyway, that's what I did on my summer vacation. In the coming days, I plan to write a bit about some of what I did, as well as give my quarterly recap on my personal finances and goal achievement. 2Q2009 wasn't too bad on either front, and with a few tweaks to my debt payment plan, I think I'll be able to achieve my ultimate debt goal for the year.

Stay tuned, and thanks for sticking with me!