12-Step Program Available Online
Thereâ€™s a new BlackBerry coming out, with a higher-resolution screen and generally more gizmo for your dollar. In some circles, this news is a lot like hearing thereâ€™s some new, more pure heroin making the rounds. It is, of course, more socially acceptable to flash your new BlackBerry than it is to wave around a bag of smack, but addiction is addiction whether itâ€™s satisfied electronically or intravenously.
I donâ€™t have a BlackBerry. I donâ€™t want a BlackBerry. Iâ€™m not a Luddite or a technophobe, I just donâ€™t feel a need to be that connected. I have a cell phone. People call me and if Iâ€™m free and interested, I answer. Iâ€™ve never had reason to check my email from the waiting area at LaGuardia, or read the newspaper on a tiny screen while walking down the street. Some people do. And some of those people will be hit by buses. Caveat emptor.
What a Country
“It’s a mulligan industry. That’s what makes America great.”
â€”Ken Phillips, RCG Capital Partners, in a Wall Street Journal story on failed hedge fund managers opening new funds.
Yes, America is the land of second chances â€¦ and even third chances, as the Journal points out in its story. Somewhere around the third mulligan, though, “giving a guy a second chance” becomes simply “naive.” Ex-Amaranth trader Brian Hunter, for instance, is on his third mulligan, according to the Journal story. His former boss, Nick Maounis, who presided over Mr. Hunter’s $6 billion in natural gas trading losses in September 2006, is replaying his second shot from the rough, as well. Once again, the comments section of the DealBook entry is priceless.
Mark Fuchs has left Credit Suisse and plans to start a hedge fund trading in shares of Southeast Asian companies, according to Bloomberg.
The de Tocqueville Files
Josh Fry, a 24-year-old ambulance driver from Williamson, insisted he was not racist but said he would feel more comfortable with [John] McCain, the 71-year-old Vietnam war hero, in the White House. â€śI want someone who is a full-blooded American as president,â€ť he said.
If by â€śfull-bloodedâ€ť you mean someone with Scots-Irish and English in his ancestry, then Mr. McCain fits the bill perfectly. Thank you, Josh, for illustrating that any democracy is only as strong as its weakest link.
The Gloves are Off
Apparently it’s never too late to blame someone else. It’s going on a year since Bear Stearns’ two structured credit hedge funds imploded. Now comes word via Times Online that ex-Bear Chief Executive Alan “Ace” Greenberg said his successor, James Cayne, didn’t listen to his warnings about the impending credit crisis. “I don’t understand why he still comes in. He’s not employed here any more,” the paper quoted Mr. Greenberg as saying. That was among his milder comments.
Also quoted in the story was ex-convict Jordan Belfort, who happens to be helping Mr. Greenberg write his memoirs. “Ace is a really great trader. Everybody likes him,” Mr. Belfort told the paper. “Cayne had the reputation of being a bastard.”
Then again, Mr. Greenberg was chairman of Bear Stearns’ risk and executive committees during the runup to the downfall. But apparently it looks much better if you’re in the office and not paying attention than if you’re out playing bridge and getting in a few rounds of golf while not paying attention. Food for thought the next time the markets go all blooey and your buddy calls to see if you can get in 18 at Winged Foot.