Babelfish Monday

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Constantly searching for new ways to turn the basic "link fest" into real posting material, we bring you "Babelfish Monday," wherein we translate the often complex and Byzantine language of high finance into the plain English you are used to using with your non-Wall Street friends. (You have some, right?)
Statement:

"The precipitous decline in housing market conditions and unprecedented changes in consumer behavior prompted us to update our credit reserve modeling and rely less heavily on historical trends to forecast losses. As a result, we have substantially increased our reserves." Chairman and Chief Executive of Wachovia Ken Thompson.

English:
"Pfft, yeah. Like you called the bubble or something?"
Statement:

"Stock Futures Up On Renewed Optimism" Associated Press, early morning, April 14, 2008.

English:
"We have no idea."
Statement:

"Stock Futures Down Amid Earnings Worries" Associated Press, later morning, April 14, 2008.

English:
"We still have no idea."


Statement:

"I don't back any projects -- general programs or earmarks -- that the military services and federal agencies do not support," - Senator Richard Shelby on earmarks.

English:
"Since they have never failed to support general programs or earmarks, I have backed them all."
Statement:

"We are also willing to pursue alternative structures which would enable Circuit City shareholders to receive stock and participate in what we believe would be an exciting future for the combined enterprise," Blockbuster on their Circuit City offer.

English:
"Now that the bottom has totally fallen out of our business, if we don't trade our stock for something before investors put it together that we are essentially doomed, we will have nothing left. Since we can't find a business model to claim any kind of synergies with, we picked one that sells DVD players. We know lots about DVDs. Makes perfect sense, really."
Statement:

"The rating of [Berkshire Hathaway Assurance Corp.] is based on its extremely strong competitive position, insurance and reinsurance capitalization, and financial flexibility." Standard and Poors on their AAA rating for Berkshire.

English:
"You are our last hope. Please don't fail. Please don't fail. Please don't fail."
Statement:

"We had planned for an environment that was going to be challenging, but what I would say is kind of late in the quarter, particularly after the Bear Stearns event, we experienced an extraordinary disruption in our ability to complete asset sales and incurred marks of impairments and this was something that we clearly didn’t see until the end of the quarter." General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt on last week's earnings call.

English:
"Pile on!"
Statement:

"The business model feels like it is broken. … It is like the Chicago Cubs." Scott Davis of Morgan Stanley on GE's earnings call last week.

English:
"The business model feels like it is broken. … It is like the Chicago Cubs."

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