Monday, July 18, 2011

The July 18 2011 round-up

The Murdoch/media empire story not only has grown legs, but is jumping hurdles like an Olympian.

A whistleblower, former News of the World reporter Sean Hoare, was found dead today (10:40am GMT).  The UK Guardian reports "The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing."

Just like Gary Webb and Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide.

The two top London cops got off comparitively easy - they resigned.  BBC reports:  "The Met has lost its highly respected Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson and its top counter-terrorism policeman, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who have both resigned over the phone hacking scandal."


Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic Egan-Jones downgraded U.S. debt.  Gold is at 1603.9 and silver at 40.295 at the time of this writing.  Equities and bonds are both selling off:  DJIA at 12,350.65, -128.70.  The 30 year US Treasury is at 125 13/32, down 20/32.  (When the price goes down, yield goes up.)

And Bank of America (BAC), ahead of their Q2 report Tuesday, 7/19/2011, admits it needs to raise capital and therefore will not increase the dividend.  The stock is at 9.73, down only 0.27 on 165.42 million shares traded.  Nothing nefarious going on there.

And Goldman's Sigma-X platform is showing UK banking stocks under attack, just like Italian banks were under attack 3 weeks ago.

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Soxo-Twin War of 2011 Continues

Live blogging the Friday 8 July 2011 Twins-Sox game.

1st inning, Twins go up 1-0.  I couldn't take it and turned to the Mary Tyler Moore show on 26.3 (MeTV).  Turned back to see Konerko drive Alexie Ramirez in with a double.  PaulStar!  Then I stuck around and saw Adam (Grand Canyon) Dunn hit a monster home run to right center.  Now Quention hits a double.  1 out.  His 25th double.

I'd like to see a 20-1 game to ease that debacle I saw in 2009.  Criminy.

7:30pm Bottom of 1st, mound visit by Twins pitching coach.  3-1, Sox.

And it's fair - Rios doubles, bringing in Quentin.  Yes!  They get AJ to bounce out to 2nd, moving Rios to 3rd. And there's a base hit for Beckham, bringing in Rios.
5-1, Sox.
And Beckham steals 2nd during Morel's at-bat.
Oh yeah, and it's still the first inning.  Morel grounds out to shot but the Sox put a crooked number up.

Gavin Floyd #34 is pitching.  Let's hope he keeps focus and doesn't mentally wander through the poppy fields.

2nd Inning - top
Ah jeez.  Floyd walks a dude after giving up a hit.
Strikes out Tolbert.  Whew.
3rd out is a grounder to Floyd. Take that, Twinkies.
bottom
You know what the problem with live blogging is?  The internet is beckoning you from the other browser tabs.
Two outs, no runners.  PK is up to bat again.  PaulStar!  *He won the Final Man vote for the All-Star game in Phoenix.  It works out since he was going home for the All-Star break anyway.  And this is the 3rd time a Sock has won the Final Man vote:   Podsednik in 2005, AJ Pierzynski in 2006, and now PK in 2011.

And Konerko singles this time.  And Dunn strikes out.  Everything's back to normal.

3rd Inning
I'm taking a slight break to catch Bob Newhart on MeTV.
8:13pm Commercial break, switched back to the game.  Bad news - still top of the 3rd.  Bases loaded.  2 out.  For crying out loud.  And I can't get my bottle of Blue Goodness open.  A budding catastrophe.
Sweet pickup by Morel and the side is retired.
5-2, Sox.

8:22pm Commercial break, switched back to Sox game.  They're on a commercial break too.

Sweet Moses, it's the top of the 4th, still 5-2.

8:27pm Bob Newhart is over.  Switched back just in time to see Floyd plunk ?, to load the bases.  Cooper's at the mound and he doesn't look happy.  And he shouldn't.  I'm not happy.  Floyd is 4-9 lifetime against Minnesota.  Yuck.  Twins are 8-0 for last 8 games played at Comiskey.  Come on.
Cuddyer gets a base hit, one run in.
5-3, Sox.
Strikes out ?.  Who cares.  Got a Twin to strike out.  Bases still loaded, 2 outs.
Twins drive in 2 more, to tie the mother-flipping game, fans are booing, and Floyd's getting the hook.  #77 Will Ohman's coming in. Still 2 outs.
5-5.  Awesome.
Ohman breaks the ice by giving up a home run - 3 runs score.
5-8, Twins.  Now I have to focus on what I'll enjoy at Sunday's game because clearly it won't be the overall game.
And finally this nightmare inning is over.
Box score
          Twins 8     10     0
          Sox    5      5      0

Pathetic.  And no Newhart to pull me away from this.

8:48pm Bottom of the 4th.  Just a note - this game started at 7:10pm.  So it's going to be slow and painful.
Minnesota SP Blackburn's got to be relieved.
Meanwhile, Max has rethought his position on raw eggs.  He likes them.  Too bad for him that Flurry knew from the get-go she liked them and licked the bowls clean.
#1 Juan Pierre singled, #10 Alexei batting.
Max just realized there's a baseball game on (this means he rushes the TV and barks).
Infield-bleeping-fly rule.  For chrissakes.
PK's up.  Blackburn's on pitch 87.  In the bottom of the 4th.  And it's 8:58pm.  I would be close to suicidal if actually at the game.
Walked PK.  Adam "Grand Canyon" Dunn is up.  Two outs.  Please god don't let him strike out AGAIN.
I'm diverting myself by reading up on vitamin and mineral supplements.  My back-up American League team, for seasons such as this when the Sox closely resemble an extinct sulphur pit - smelly and useless, is the Cleveland Indians.
Stone is commenting on the Human Rain Delay, Nick Blackburn.  And Mauer takes his time sending the sign.  I hate Minnesota so much.
I couldn't take a Dunn strikeout.  I flipped to "My Name Is Earl" on WPWR.
Naturally, it's a commercial break so I go back to the game and it's a commercial break too.  So my plan worked - I missed Dunn's strikeout.  (I just checked GameCast - Dunn did strike out, swinging.)

9:12pm  The good news is that the Twins haven't scored any more runs.  Of course, neither have the Sox.  And it's the top of the 5th.  There's going to be a spike in the suicide rate tonight.
Sox pick off a wandering Twinkie, and finally the top of the inning is over.

9:30pm  Should I flip back to the game?  Sure, I'm a gambler.  Top of the 6th, still 8-5 Twins.  For gawds sake.
9:59pm  Well, I'm back to the Sox game.  And it's a commercial break.
Cleveland lost to Toronto.  Crap.  Detroit's beating Kansas City.  Who cares.
And that's that.  3 up, 3 down and off to the 8th inning.

10:27pm Going into the bottom of the 9th.  And it's still 8-5, Twins.
10:32pm This game is o-vah.  Call it!

Twins 8
Sox 5

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Bonds are forever, but the ratings don't have to be

Moody's, belatedly, is gettting real on ratings reviews of sovereigns and the EU is not happy about it.

Greece was downgraded to JUNK by Moody's in June 2010.

Portugal got their rating whacked today*.  Spain and Italy were put on notice.
*From Baa1 to Ba2.  Not impressed?  Who can be with raters and their archaic hoodoo voodoo.

Ireland is one grade above JUNK (what is that, Junk+?).
[BusinessWeek] Moody, which slashed Portugal to Ba2 from Baa1, in April lowered Ireland’s credit rating to the lowest investment grade Baa3 and left country’s outlook on negative.
For comparison, let's see how Iceland is doing.
[Bloomberg]  The credit rating companies that were too slow in predicting Iceland’s economic collapse in 2008 may be underestimating the strength of its resurrection.

Fitch Ratings said in May it may take two years for the island to shed its junk status, while Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s give Iceland their lowest investment grades. That hasn’t deterred investors from trying to buy twice the amount offered in last month’s $1 billion bond sale as the island returned to global capital markets less than three years after its banks defaulted on $85 billion in debt.  "When you look at how successful that auction was, it's clear that investors are now crunching the numbers themselves and that the credit grades from the rating agences are less relevant," Valdimar Armann, an economist at Reykjavik-based asset manager Gamma, said in a July 4 interview.
Possibly the EU is drawing the wrong lesson from the Iceland story.  No, no - I jest.  They want to bury Iceland.  How dare they recover!