Evening Links 12-6

December 6, 2009

(Reader note: One bug we’re still trying to work out is that links in the top line of a post aren’t “hot” in the front-page view of the blog. If you click “continue reading” the link is available)

The FBI agent inside the Galleon case (Goldstein, Reuters) More great work from Matt.

MIT team wins DARPA red balloon challenge (darpa.mil) But how did they do it?

Requiem for the dollar (James Grant, WSJ) A fun (and frustrating) piece to read. Grant is a good writer, but he throws provocative comments around without explaining them. He says we need to collateralize the dollar, presumably with gold, but acknowledges early in the article that the gold standard was far from perfect: “The lifespan of no monetary system since 1880 has been more than 30 or 40 years, including that of my beloved classical gold standard…” No doubt he has ideas to improve his “beloved” standard, and that would be useful to read. Too bad he doesn’t go into it.

Bair weighs loan principal cuts to fight foreclosure (Vekshin, Bloomberg) Writing off principal is the opposite of extend and pretend. But if Bair wants to pay for it using the Deposit Insurance Fund, she’ll have to stay aggressive with assessing insurance premiums on banks.

Amazon in secret plan to open high street shops (Davey, Times UK) Some brick and mortar for Amazon? Update: Amazon says “no plans” for physical stores. A non-denial denial…

The gambler who blew $127 million (Berzon, WSJ) “During a year-long gambling binge at the Caesars Palace and Rio casinos in 2007, Terrance Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million. The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history.”

Schadenfreude Alert: Harvard in trouble (The Awl) This piece quotes another good article in this month’s Vanity Fair (have to buy the mag to read it).

The ultimate vanity plate (Taibbi, True/Slant) On the Porsche Cayenne owned by Morgan Stanley’s Rob Kindler: “2BG2FAIL” From Sorkin’s book.

Girl dumps tennis star over his 7-hr-per-day video game addiction (Telegraph)

NOT Obama’s job strategy…

3 comments

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You are dead-on regarding the main shortcoming of Grant’s works. (Though I think his articles, newsletter, books, and more importantly speeches are always time well spent)

But actually I think he is more direct here than in other pieces. “Debased banks mean a debased currency” is more straightforward (or at least the language is tighter) than I’ve seen in most of his books/articles…

Could you re-institute some “business value in financial safety” and bring about a meaningful amount of good, without necessarily moving back to the gold standard.

Either way good read – I’d love to hear more solutions from Grant – though his take down of the current banking system is as entertaining as any.

Posted by cg | Report as abusive

Obama seems to have missed the point. Prostitutes and pimps are working now, so are drug dealers at a lot of levels of sales and marketing. Seems to me few, if any, of them are declaring income or paying taxes. (What did the feds finally get Al Capone for? Failure to pay income taxes.) Legalization would put most of the billions of revenue generated by those now illegal businesses within reach of the tax system, reduce many forms of crime dramatically, get rid of a lot of corruption within our law enforcement and judicial systems, and end most of the blatant racial discrimination in the drug sentencing laws.

Posted by Ken S | Report as abusive

The only tax some people will ever pay is the inflation tax.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

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