Crescendo of Awesomeness

Hint: neither of them look as good up close as they do far away. You guys can figure out the first one. The second one is the Paul Tudor Jones Light ShowTM, which we checked out last night on the way to my close personal friend SC’s house for the first night of Hannukah. Video would’ve captured the thing better but then you would’ve heard me mouthing off to the cop and we couldn’t have that, so photos it is. Re the blurry ones: apparently a 15,000 bulb Christmas spectacular, synced up to Carol of the Bells, which lights from the bottom of the top and proceeds to flash over and over getting progressively brighter, replete with fake snow and a squadron of local police, much to the chagrin of an otherwise staid gated community is all good, but taking pictures of said display? Verboten. No matter. We’ll be back next year, provided the tip we dropped in the suggestion box (Vegas show girls as elves) is at least considered.

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…because it doesn’t have the authority to do so. In response to Sentinel’s letter requesting it be allowed to halt (the massive number of) redemption requests recently received, a CFTC official told Reuters: “The CFTC has no authority in this area. This isn’t something we do. We have no role in whether or not the company does this and whether the client accepts it.” And probably would’ve like to have added, “We have no idea why Sentinel came to us with this request. This is highly unusual, ‘this’ being a money manager that doesn’t know under which regulator it falls. Wow. Just ‘Wow.’ Also: ‘embarassing’.”
Note to any Sentinel investors who haven’t yet asked for their money bank– maybe now’s the time?
US CFTC says it can’t halt Sentinel’s redemptions [Reuters]

From a report that’s poised to win a cornucopia of awards for its breakthroughs in the field of human behavior, scientists—yes, scientists—have determined that “US executives have been able to secure more favorable research ratings for their companies from investment banks by bestowing professional favors on Wall Street analysts.” Time out. Did they just say what we think they just said? Let’s watch the tape again: “US executives have been able to secure more favorable research ratings for their companies from investment banks by bestowing professional favors on Wall Street analysts.” They did, indeed! Hang on. We need a second.
Okay, we’re going to try and muscle through this. “Unprecedented research” performed on 1,800 equity analysts found that an executive could greatly increase the odds of his company getting a happy face emoticon instead of the one with a foot where the mouth should be, by offering analysts favors ranging from recommending them for a job to agreeing to speak with their clients to blow job y backrub combos. Jesusmaryandjoseph! Keithrichardhahn! Johnfranciscarneythethird!
We’re not finished— analyst receiving two favors were 50% less likely than non-favor receiving colleagues to downgrade a company. We’re not finished—“favor-rending” to analysts in order to reduce the chances of a downgrade in the wake of poor results or a controversial deal is “widespread.” Meaning it happens a lot? In what kind of sick, fucked up, alternate universe was this study conducted?
Are you ready for this biggest kicker of them all? Kurt Schacht, director of the Center for Financial Market Integrity at the CFA Institute, which represents more than 80,000 analysts and fund managers, said that “Activities such as these are in clear breach of our code of conducts and standards…and are unethical.” Someone hand us a Molotov cocktail.
Executives find favours bring better ratings [FT]