August 6, 2007

Day 1 after Jim Cramer’s Friday ‘Armageddon’ Call: Markets Up, Bonds OK

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:09 pm

The lesson from this post isn’t bias as much as it is making sure not to get taken in by Old Media overreactions.

Jim Cramer of CNBC’s “Mad Money” went mad on Friday, declaring Armageddon in this video rant on Friday (watch the whole thing to see just how out-of-control he was; his declaration is at 1:40 in the vid — “in the fixed-income markets, we have Armageddon.”):

The first trading day after Cramer’s declaration of Aramageddon went thusly (from a CNN e-mail after the markets’ 4PM close):

Dow sees biggest point gain of year in early tallies, closing 284 points higher on surging financial stocks, falling oil prices.

Here are results at as of 4:11 –


Of course, one day does not a market make, but you would have thought the equity markets would have at least gone down, at least a little, to justify Cramer’s meltdown. But instead, the stock indices posted very decent gains.

Oh, and how about the fixed-income markets? From MarketWatch (after the 3PM close of the bond market; link requires free registration):

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note lately closed down 11/32 at 98- 7/32 with a yield ….. of 4.735%.
The 30-year bond fell 19/32 to 97-17/32 with a yield ….. of 4.909%.
The 2-year note ended off 4/32 at 100-8/32 with a yield of 4.500%.

These are hardly ginormous, let alone calamitous, changes.

While yours truly is in no way predicting the future direction of the markets, many of those who liquidated holdings earlier today as a result of Cramer’s rant might have experienced a bit of seller’s remorse at the close.

Cross-posted at

OK, There’s a Punch Line Here, and I’m Missing It (Lefty Bloggers Want to Unionize)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy — Tom @ 11:56 am

This is NOT from The Onion. It’s from the Associated Press via USA Today (“Bloggers consider forming labor union”):

CHICAGO — Do bloggers need their own Norma Rae?

In a move that might make some people scratch their heads, a loosely formed coalition of left-leaning bloggers are trying to band together to form a labor union they hope will help them receive health insurance, conduct collective bargaining or even set professional standards.

The effort is an extension of the blogosphere’s growing power and presence, especially within the political realm, and for many, evokes memories of the early labor organization of freelance writers in the early 1980s.Organizers hope a bloggers’ labor group will not only showcase the growing professionalism of the Web-based writers, but also the importance of their roles in candidates’ campaigns.

“I think people have just gotten to the point where people outside the blogosphere understand the value of what it is that we do on the progressive side,” said Susie Madrak, the author of Suburban Guerilla, who is active in the union campaign. “And I think they feel a little more entitled to ask for something now.”

Maybe I’m missing something, but when you want to form a union, isn’t it sort of necessary that there be a mean, oppressive employer, or a group of them?

“Realtiy-based community” bloggers wanting to unionize are also going to have to work on the reality economists call “barriers to entry”:

With pages focused on everything from bird watching to celebrity footwear, more than 120,000 blogs are created every day and more than 58,000 new posts are made each hour, according to data from Technorati, which tracks more than 94 million blogs worldwide.

Related post is at


Update: Here’s a thought — Maybe the diarists at Daily Kos could be the first to stage a digital walkout. After all, Markos Moulitsas has gotten quite rich, and largely from their labors.

Update 2: Hmm — The idea is growing on me. After all, Markos IS mean (“screw them“). And he has bouts of oppressiveness (“deleting topics and comments wholesale”). Perhaps there should be a digital picket line in Kos’s future.

Update 3: Taranto at Best of the Web is going in a similar direction –

So who exactly is “management”? What do the aspiring unionists plan to do, picket Markos Moulitsas’s home to demand better “working” conditions?

Update 4: Oh great. Now Atheist Republican at NB is agitating to get commenters in on the unionizing action. Well, there’s already comment moderation here; it wouldn’t be too difficult to convert that into a lockout. :–>

Data-Theft Followup: Strickland Claiming Extra Credit for Doing What Anyone Would Automatically Have Done

From the Zanesville Times Recorder, here’s the hands-down winner of the “Botched Headline of the Day” sweepstakes. Note who really thought the state overreacted (bold is mine):

Originally published August 5, 2007

Investigators say state overreacted to data theft

COLUMBUS (AP) – Several state officials told investigators they believed the state was overreacting in its response to the theft of a sensitive computer backup tape, which could now cost $3 million as more individuals sign up for identity-theft protection services, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Budget Director Pari Sabety told investigators there was “a passionate debate” within state government about how to respond to the theft. Some officials, including Sabety, argued that the state’s pledge to pay for the protection services was unnecessary, according to transcripts of interviews from the Ohio inspector general’s office obtained by The Columbus Dispatch.

….. “I believe we were overreacting and overcompensating given the physical attributes of the device,” Sabety said, according to interview transcripts. Sabety added that it was a matter of opinion “over which reasonable people can differ.”

As to Sabety’s claim of overreaction — I cannot think of a single similar instance where the entity that had failed in its responsibility to keep personal data secure didn’t provide a year of protection to those affected — regardless of nature of the device(s) stolen. Not to provide protection would have been irresponsible. Even at that, whether the state really did everything it could to encourage taxpayers and others whose personal information was compromised to obtain the free protection is very debatable.

This news is the latest in what is looking ever more in retrospect like a series of politically timed releases designed to make the Governor look good, as this excerpt from the Columbus Dispatch article referred to in the first excerpt above shows:

Although records show there was debate within Gov. Ted Strickland’s administration about whether such a response was necessary since the odds of accessing the tape are low, the governor says protecting those affected is worth the cost.

“The wise decision is to lean on the side of being cautious,” spokesman Keith Dailey said.

Note how spending taxpayers’ money has turned into an act of gubernatorial nobility. But spending the money only became necessary because of poor data-control and protection procedures on the part of people who work for Mr. Strickland — people who had been warned about the inadequacy of their procedures a couple of months earlier, and who failed to carry out an order to correct the situation!

Spare me.

What spokesmouth Dailey is describing as a “decision” should have been an “automatic response” to do what anyone else would have done anywhere else, and has done everywhere else, without a second thought.


Previous Posts:
- July 25 — Data-Theft Communication Follow-up
- July 24 — DataGate Post-Mortem: Protection Questions Linger
- July 17 — Ohio Data Theft: An Early-Spring Order to Encrypt Move Sensitive Info Surfaces NOW?
- July 13 — The State of Ohio Data Theft — One More Time: Independent. Investigation.
- June 25 — Ohio’s State Data-Theft Update, Including State Contact Info (PLUS: AP’s Unsolicited Damage Control and Dispatch Whitewash)
- June 22 — W-W-W-Wait a Minute: When Did THIS Data-Theft Number Go Up? (Answer: Maybe It Didn’t It Sure Did)
- June 20 — What the ???? (Ohio Data Theft Update; Time for an Independent Investigation)
- June 19 — What the ???? (Stolen State Data Was NOT Encrypted)

Positivity: Reunion of Brothers

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:59 am

From Wantage, New Jersey:

Monday, July 23, 2007

David Schumann spent his childhood bouncing in and out of different orphanages and foster homes. He was adopted by an abusive family. He knew almost nothing about his birth family.

But the 41-year-old Lake Neepaulin resident took an important step toward putting that dark past behind him on Sunday when someone he lost almost four decades ago came back into his life.

For the first time since he was two years old, he came face to face with Fredrick Stetson, his brother.

“It’s been overwhelming,” Schumann said, standing outside his Woodside Drive house with Stetson. “It’s such a relief. It was like a big missing puzzle piece out of my life.”

After decades of being unable to find his brother or learn anything about him, Schumann found Stetson, a 43-year-old auto mechanic, simply by doing a quick search on the Internet last week.

After finding that he lived in Lakewood, Schumann’s wife, Lydia, found the number by dialing 411 and was connected with Stetson’s wife, Mary.

“I asked her if she had a husband who had been looking for a brother his whole life,” Lydia Schumann said.

The answer was yes, and last Monday, the two lost brothers spoke for the very first time. They spoke on the phone every day since for between four and six hours, before finally meeting on Sunday.

“When we first met, it wasn’t awkward at all,” Stetson said. “It just felt right. We’re so alike, it’s like we’re twins.”

For Schumann, it was an important moment that helped bring a little closure to a life darkened by a troubled past. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.