• 19 Feb 2010 at 1:05 PM

Regrets: Hank Paulson Wanted To Be A Forest Ranger

Picture 184.pngHank 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.

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  • 17 Feb 2010 at 12:20 PM

Minneapolis Fed Chief: Look How Far We’ve Come

Picture 164.pngMinneapolis 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.”

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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

hankandhisbird.JPGAs 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.

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  • 01 Jun 2009 at 9:45 AM

Swan Song

Picture 1445.pngAs 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.
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]

Listen, I know Federal District Court Judge Kenneth Karas *had* to inquire as to whether or not Sam Israel was sane enough to enter into a guilty plea for bail jumping in June because he didn’t want to go to prison but come on, buddy. WAKE UP. You are getting played by a man who fucks egrets.* Hasn’t EB already proved himself to be someone who can’t be trusted to tell the truth? Or is the whole, defrauding of clients, faking his own suicide stuff water under the bridge?
Karas asked Israel yesterday to rank his clear-mindedness on a scale of 1 to 100 (which, since we’re nitpicking the legal system, also seems ridiculous. Should be a yes or no question. Are you crazy? Yes or no. None of this on a scale of bat-shit insane to completely lucid, where do you stand business, because where do you draw the line? Can you send someone to jail who’s “Not nuts but definitely cripplingly neurotic”? Do you put your foot down at “I’ve had many a sleepless night trying to figure out who was behind the premeditated destruction of Corey Haim’s career”?). Israel thought about it for a few seconds and answered, “About 70 percent,” to which Karas responded, “Seventy percent is not a number that makes me feel comfortable” and delayed the hearing to September 16, giving Egret Boy exactly what he wanted–yet another chance to escape, and, should he screw that up again, ample time to research whether or not conjugal visits necessarily have to be human on human.
Judge Delays Hearing for Fund Manager Who Fled [AP]
*Circumstantial evidence.

Former hedge fund manager-cum-performance artist Samuel Israel III who faked his own death this summer because he didn’t want to go to jail is set to plead guilty to bail-jumping this afternoon. The industry’s biggest M*A*S*H fan and only (known) egret lover waived an indictment on a charge of failure to surrender for his prison sentence before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith this morning, but the formal plea must be entered before U.S. District Court Kenneth Karas later today. And I think we all know what that means but for the non-ambitious ones in the group, I’ll tell you what it means: there’s still time for him to make a run for it.
Ex-hedge fund manager to plead guilty to bail-jumping [Reuters]