crabs

Poor Fab, but it could be worse. Michael Lewis has a heartbreaking, enraging story in Vanity Fair about poor Sergey Aleynikov, the former Goldman programmer and current Dostoyevskyan holy fool who was sentenced to federal prison for eight years for stealing computer code from Goldman, won a complete victory on appeal, was released, has lost his life savings, and is now being prosecuted under state law just because Goldman, or someone, but probably Goldman, really hates him. It is troubling stuff not least for Lewis’s clear implication that a jury trial may not be the best way to arrive at the truth regarding complex financial-technological questions. E.g.: Read more »

Earlier this week, it was sadly reported that Paul the Prognosticating Octopus, whose powers of prediction blew those of UBS and other investment banks out of the water, had passed away. Now that he’s dead, some people feel it necessary to dig up the past and make a mockery of his legacy. Starting with the fact that it was all a cheap trick.

Far from being a simple cephalopod that got lucky on a 256-1 chance of predicting eight two-option outcomes in a row (matches at the 2010 World Cup), it turns out Paul was / is a publicity stunt for a global entertainment conglomerate, the Merlin Entertainments Group (MEG)…Paul the Octopus, who provided colourful if inane fodder for umpteen news and broadcast organisations during the World Cup, especially those with no rights to any live action in South Africa, was also credited with predicting correct match results for Euro 2008 games. It should be stressed that, contrary to some reports, that was actually a different octopus, and that the different octopus got other results wrong, but such facts shouldn’t get in the way of a good story…Since [the summer Paul] has been relentlessly marketed as a brand to make cash.

And the sickest part? Is that one of the people he was making cash for was then turning around and using it to finance the murder of Paul’s compadres and distant relatives. Read more »

President Obama and the business community have been at odds for months. But in July the chairman and cofounder of the Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private-equity firms, amped up the rhetoric. Stephen Schwarzman—the leading John McCain supporter in a firm that, in 2008, gave more money to Obama—was addressing board members of a nonprofit organization when he let loose. “It’s a war,” Schwarzman said of the struggle with the administration over increasing taxes on private-equity firms. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” [Newsweek]

  • 24 Feb 2010 at 4:52 PM

Poll: Should Stephen Schwarzman Kill A Whale Today?

stephenschwarzmansrealhands.JPGBy now you’ve probably heard about the killer whale, Tilikum, that savagely murdered an SeaWorld employee today in front of a packed audience (according to a guest, the trainer was “thrashed around pretty good” and at one point, one of her shoes flew off). A devastating tragedy, and something that perhaps calls for an avenging. By whom? Stephen Schwarzman, ’cause Blackstone owns SeaWorld.

Read more »