“Frankly, my dear, you should give a damn,” Louis Bacon said last night, paraphrasing from what he called his holy book, “Gone With the Wind.” The Raleigh, North Carolina-born hedge-fund manager, who looks a bit like Rhett Butler (especially the hair), exhorted guests to protect nature as he accepted the National Audubon Society’s Audubon Medal…Five women costumed as North American birds circulated during cocktail hour. They wore bras and undies, a feather here and there, and body paint (they’d spent six hours standing during their transformation). Each ably identified herself (which most guests — including Jonathan Rosen, author of a book about birding — failed at). There was a red-breasted robin, a Blackburnian warbler, a loon, a blue jay and a calliope hummingbird. “Mrs. Bacon and I thought of it,” said Ann Colley, the executive director of the Moore Charitable Foundation, which has carried out much of Bacon’s conservation work. “We didn’t want it to be boring.” [Bloomberg]
Louis Bacon’s Animal Conservation Work Involves Stripping Models Down To Their ‘Bras And Undies,’ Painting Them To Look Like BirdsBy Bess Levin
As many of you know, to call Hank Paulson a fan of birds would not do justice to the special relationship between the former Treasury Secretary and his feathered friends. Birds get nine mentions in his memoir (verus Warren Buffett’s six), he was said to “freak out when [they'd] fly into the glass windows of 85 Broad,” they’ve become the third person in his marriage (Wendy Paulson, also a huge fan, was apparently “jealous” of a recent outing Hank took without her, preferring to have them all to himself), they were the ones he was referring to when he said 20 percent of the staff at Goldman added 80 percent of the value, and, despite having to neglect them in order to deal with the whole Bear Stearns situation (he said he was sorry and he meant it), birds have remained unflaggingly loyal, among HP’s closest confidants, the sources of his most joyful and precious moments in life and just really great buddies. That’s why it doesn’t hurt that people aren’t banging down his door to kick back and watch the game over some non-alcoholic beer and learn about the observable differences among types of manure.
Read more »
In its storied history, Bank of America has accidentally foreclosed on a few houses it wasn’t supposed to. There are a lot of deadbeats out there and really no good centralized system for keeping track of whose homes are supposed to padlocked and whose aren’t. Whatever, it’s bound to happen. Not really something we can hold against them. What we can shame those fuckers for, however, is, for instance, foreclosing on someone who actually wasn’t in default and then confiscating his/her beloved parrot. Except that wasn’t just a for instance, ladies, Bank of America really did that.
Angela Iannelli, 46 years old, alleged in a lawsuit Monday that the October incident—which separated her from her 11-year-old parrot for more than a week—caused so much “emotional distress” that she needed a prescription medication for anxiety.
A Bank of America spokesman said Wednesday a bank employee erroneously believed the house was vacant and sent the contractor there with instructions to install a new lock and otherwise “secure” the property. The bank spokesman said those instructions were inappropriate because Ms. Iannelli wasn’t in default and the house wasn’t vacant.
But maybe we’re being too hard on BofA? Maybe they took full credit for the mistake, apologized profusely and had Ken Lewis personally drive out to Ms. Iannelli’s house to bring her back her bird? Read more »
Charlie Gasparino Isn’t Interested In Speaking With Hank Paulson, Or Anyone Else For That Matter, Off The RecordBy Bess Levin
The University of Missouri journalism school held a talk at the Harvard Club last night, featuring bird watcher Hank Paulson. The invite specified that the event was off the record, which didn’t sit well with Missouri alum Charlie Gasparino. Chaz doesn’t do off the record, which is why he see your OTR and raises you a “stugatz,” which is something his mother, may she rest in peace, used to say. And you know what? Just for daring to even think that Gaspo would attend your talk without even the possibility of getting a story out of it, what he’s going to do, is he’s going to do, is he’s going to wait for your car to pull up, and get in your face, and ask you questions anyway, with a camera rolling. If you want to blow him off, fine, but just know it’s going to come back to ten-fold (CG’s stugatz where the sun don’t shine).
Hank Paulson had a little chat last night at the 92Y with GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt. This must’ve been a tad on the uncomfortable side, since just last week, the two had a spat about the passage in Hank’s book mentioning the September 2008 convo regarding GE’s commercial paper woes they may or may not have had. (Paulson chalked it up to having a bad memory, stress, bird-deprivation, etc).
Anyway, no matter, because the ice was broken by starting with a less controversial topic Hank’s unaccomplished desire to be a forest ranger. “I never wanted to be a forest ranger more than during the crisis,” the former Treasury Secretary said wistfully.
Minneapolis Fed President is taking a stab at those would like to see the Fed stripped of its bank oversight powers, saying that while the Fed made “significant mistakes,” just go ahead with your plan, and it’ll be the Great Recession 2.0. Sure, they didn’t see the crisis coming, but hey, “the Romans used to cut up birds to make their economic forecasts” and the Fed’s methods have improved “somewhat.” So stop bitching people.
In a speech yesterday, Narayana Kocherlakota (pictured) reiterated that Congress and Washington need to put their shit together to address financial regulation – a sentiment that seems to be rampant these days, what with the outbursts of Volcker and Bayh to name a few. “These proposals have generated a great deal of uncertainty, for the capricious winds of politics seem to change them on a near-daily basis.”
[click to view]
Obviously my pick is a question that merges both their favorite topics, birds for Paulson and huge cans for WB (“Have you ever found a titmouse in the brush, Hank? Would she have fit in on a Russ Meyer set?”)
Update: Paulson: “[George] Bush was like a mother to me.” So there’s that.
Watch Live: Buffett And Paulson [Omaha World Herald]
Related: Collapse Of Bear Stearns Took Away From Hank Paulson’s Bird Time
Folksy Business Wisdom And Abberant Sex Fetish, With Warren Buffett
As I said earlier, much more time will be devoted to Hank Paulson’s memoir, The Day I Threatened To Break Ken Lewis’s Legs, later (with the possibility of a book club). But just an FYI to Jimmy Cayne and everyone one else who contributed to the financial crisis? You’re on HP’s To Kill List. If one were to scan the index of HP’s book, you’d notice that whereas David Einhorn is mentioned on two pages (136, 246), Erin Callan on one (137) and Warren Buffett on six (13, 124-125, 284, 355-356), Paulson’s precious birds? They get 9 mentions (22, 37, 44, 81, 105-106, 331, 381, 419). Like this:
That evening Wendy and I went to the National Geographic Society to see The Lord God Bird, a terrific documentary on the ivory-billed woodpecker, a bird so spectacular it made people say Lord God!! Normally, I would have enjoyed this immensely, but I was preoccupied with Bear Stearns. Every time one of our friends from the environmental community came over, I would look right through them. Wendy got really upset with me.
As Tim Geithner embarks on his campaign for confidence in China, it seems not everybody is so sure that Timmy G and the boys back in Washington have this whole running up massive debt levels and record fiscal deficit thing quite under control. Former Chinese central bank advisor Yu Yongding wants to check Geithner’s homework to see if the numbers actually add up or if he is just looking at the answer key at the back of the book.
Among the objectives the Obama administration has claimed it will achieve is a reduction in the fiscal deficit from its current level of 12.9% of GDP to approximately 3%. In response to this laudable but lofty ambition, Yu wants to know if “Geithner can show us some arithmetic. We need to know how the U.S. government can achieve this objective.” Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away, the His Black Swaness, Nassim Taleb, appears to have already done the arithmetic and is not so convinced of the new math the Treasury and Fed are using.
Universa Investments LP, which has links to “Black Swan” author and New York University professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb, is starting a hedge fund to bet that efforts by governments and central banks to end the global recession will lead to hyperinflation, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Taleb. The fund will invest in commodities and options on oil and gold stocks, the Journal said.
So let’s get ready to rumble- will defending champion Nassim Taleb (obviously wearing the black trunks) retain his title of being right at the expense of most of the free world or will up-and-comer Tim Geithner score an unexpected knockout blow? Only time will tell but conventional wisdom says always bet on black.
Holy fucking hell I can barely type this as I am shaking in excitement and definitely suffering from a decrease in oxygen to the brain as a result of hyperventilating-inducing euphoria. Tonight, at 10 PM, Dateline will be airing “The Mystery of the Missing Millionaire,” a special about SAM ISRAEL! I’m truly beside myself. As it would be a fool’s mission to try and not get our hopes up, we expect tonight’s show to include the following:
- B-roll of the egret and interviewer walking down the street
- An interview with a sex therapist who specializes in interspecies intercourse
- A Dealbreaker shout-out!
- An interview with the trollop who outbid us for the b-card.
- An eyewitness account of the industry’s biggest M*A*S*H fan escaping the second time around.
- YOUR CALL
HOPEFULLY UNRELATED: Not Enough Cock, Coke or Money: The Few Things That Didn’t Suck about CNBC’s Seth Tobias Special
An all-new Dateline Friday 10 p.m./9 C [MSNBC]