Joseph Collins had a novel reaction to “Blood on the Street: The Sensational Inside Story of How Wall Street Analysts Duped a Generation of Investors.” The 2005 book by Charles Gasparino, now of Fox Business News, inspired Collins to create a potentially revolutionary Internet communications tool. “I was reading Charlie’s book and I thought it was very unfair that Eliot Spitzer could just walk into companies and demand their email,” Collins recalled. Spitzer was New York’s Attorney General when the Internet busted, and he exposed a steady stream of embarrassing emails from Wall Street cheats. Some of the most memorable were from Merrill Lynch’s former star Internet analyst Henry Blodget calling a company he was publicly hyping “a pos.” That stood for “piece of” something I can’t even spell in this column. What the world really needed, Collins decided after reading Gasparino’s book, were emails that couldn’t be copied, forwarded or saved. That way, people could speak candidly without worrying about overreaching snoops like Spitzer.Collins, 32, a Northwestern University graduate, was struggling to build a chain of gas stations amid rising real estate and gasoline prices. He saw a brighter future in designing disappearing emails. The result is VaporStream electronic conversation software, which is available on a free-trial basis at www.vaporstream.com. “It’s just a new form of instant messaging or email,” Collins said. “We like to think of it as the natural evolution of online communications.”
“While debating changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) told his colleagues: “Read this new book, ‘The Big Short.’” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was decrying Republican obstructionism on the floor when he said, “I recommend everyone within the sound of my voice to read the book.” It’s terrific for people who haven’t spent a lot of time on” the subject, Levin said. “My wife is really into it. I read it, marked it up for my staff, underlined it, made copies and asked them to read it.”
The Big Short A Hot Read On Hill [Politico]
Naturally it involves sucking dick for coke. I’m kidding! Though an admitted prostie, Kerviel is not that kind of whore. Read more »
Here’s an excerpt and a claim from Peter Elkind’s “Rough Justice: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer,” that may or may not be real but I want to be true more than I’ve ever wanted anything in this world. Especially the quotes. Please let these be exact quotes. Read more »
As previously mentioned, HBO has purchased the rights to Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big To Fail. John Mack has stated that his part should go to Bobby DeNiro and that of Lloyd Blankfein to Danny DeVito. Today the HuffPo has offered its picks for the other spots and while we’re in strong agreement with some (Stephen Colbert as carpet-lover John Thain, Lucille Bluth doing Nancy Pelosi), in others we beg to differ (there should be an open casting call for child actors to play Tim Geithner). Also, they don’t have any suggestions for Vikram Pandit or Jimmy Cayne. The former is a toughie, the latter Gary Busey, no questions asked (he’s got the blonde hair, huge teeth, love of drugs and looks good in a pair of Zubaz). And finally, no one’s figured out where we can find a place for Drew Carey, who’s apparently been lobbying hard for a role, as has Gary Coleman. Let’s do the producers a solid and take two today to finish this thing off right. You’re not doing anything anyway (except for watching this.)
A new book about everyone’s favorite hooker fucker comes out next week. It was written by a former senior adviser of Eliot Spitzer, Lloyd Constantine, and apparently the former governor is none too pleased, describing the tome as “a fundamental breach of trust…little more than a self-serving and largely inaccurate interpretation of events mixed with unfounded speculation.” Spitzer doesn’t say specifically what Constantine got wrong, leaving us to speculate.
*Maybe it was the suggestion that Ness started banging hookers because he couldn’t play tennis anymore: “Mr. Constantine offers one diagnosis for Mr. Spitzer’s tempestuous behavior that perhaps only a wealthy Manhattanite could suggest: acute lack of tennis. Mr. Spitzer dropped his weekly game with Mr. Constantine in 2006, worried that a tender hamstring would cause him to hobble on the campaign trail. That ‘deprived Eliot of an important physical release,’ Mr. Constantine writes.”
*Or that Spitz was crying over the phone when he admitted to paying for puss, when in reality, he could’ve just had a tickle in his throat: “The book’s emotional capstone is the agonizing final days of the Spitzer governorship. There is a disconsolate Mr. Spitzer weeping into the phone the night of March 9, after telling Mr. Constantine that he was about to be exposed.”
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ESL founder and Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert released his annual letter to shareholders yesterday, in which he unloaded a year’s worth of angst. First, the rating agencies. While Eddie understands that they sometimes err on the side of caution, he just doesn’t agree “with all of the critical qualitative conclusions.” Next, business leaders, regulators, public officials and journalists- they’re all the same. They “have become an echo chamber of self-support and self-congratulation, whether on TV, in print or at numerous conferences. Their words and their actions are often self-serving and they are typically regarded and reported on as if they were obvious and selfless.”
“They’re a bunch of idiots” the Whistleblower-in-Chief told New York Times magazine, demonstrating commendable restraint in not calling them “retards.” In related news, Marko’s book, No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller, co-written by hedge fund manager-cum-auteur David Einhorn, is hitting shelves next week. A signed copy is being sent Bernie’s way as we speak.
Alexandra Penney, the Madoff victim (“I prefer the word ‘casualty”) who started blogging about her travails for the Daily Beast last year just turned her gig into a book deal. And now you can buy it! “The Bag Lady Papers” is a book she wrote out of fears of becoming a bag lady, “trudging the streets, cold and abandoned, with a shopping cart filled with tattered bags full of god knows what,” after getting screwed by Bernie. Although she did lose money, the chance of her becoming a hobo was pretty slim, given that Alex has residences in Manhattan, the Hamptons and Florida. But hey, lemons-lemonade! This is not her first book, Alex (who “doesn’t enjoy writing”) also published “How to Make Love to a Man.” We won’t speculate about what fears brought her to write that one.
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.
GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt said today that while he did indeed have a discussion with Hank Paulson in September 2008, it had nothing to do with his irm’s commercial paper woes, as the former Treasury Secretary claims in his new book.
Rather than get defensive about the whole thing, Hank, through his publicist, said that he was merely “relying on memories,” and he was under so much stress that he’s not really sure they were accurate at this point.
“To write this book, I called on the memories of many of the people who were with me during these events. Given the high degree of stress during this time and the extraordinary number of problems I was juggling in a single day, and often in a single hour, I am sure there are many details I will never recall.”
So there you have it. You should expect he got some stuff wrong. Hope that helped cleared things up.