Wednesday, December 31, 2008

GMAC's Bad Medicine

More Bad Medicine: Rates Were Never the Problem
More good news for GMAC. Now that GMAC is more like a bank, the Treasury gave them $6 Billion dollars in TARP money. GMAC said that it would use these monies immediately to introduce 0% loans, and loosen lending standards. Management hopes that this move will help GM reduce its car inventory, and create additional cash to keep it floating. I am not as optimistic. As we have noted rates (whether they were for cars, credit cards, homes, or business loans) were never really the problem. When rates were lowered it encouraged more people to buy and refinance, money was cheap to borrow. Now that we have extended too much credit to the wrong borrowers, we are seeing the fallout. GMAC's move may be the initial step. It may temporarily sell cars. The large glut of inventory may move. However, extending more credit could well be a recipe for disaster.

According to Nouriel Roubini "Today's global crisis was triggered by the collapse of the US housing bubble, but it was not caused by it. America's credit excesses were in residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, and student loans. There was also excess in the securitized products that converted these debts into toxic financial derivatives; in borrowing by local governments; in financing for leveraged buyouts that should never have occurred; in corporate bonds that will now suffer massive losses in a surge of defaults; in the dangerous and unregulated credit default swap market." (1)

As companies and governments attempt to remedy borrowing through reduced rates... and loosening credit standards, they may only exacerbate the situation. I remind readers that government intervention is not only limited to GMAC, but a variety of lending institutions which have received direct infusions from the Fed as well. To encourage the same practices that caused the original problems is not only senseless, it encourages the same people who have helped cause the financial crisis to remain in the picture. It is almost as if governments are encouraging a policy of Natural De-Selection (encouraging the weak, in-efficient, and dumb) to survive. And we watched Wall Street react with 185 point run-up... go figure!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Men don't Grow Old. They Grow Careful... Portfolio Round Up: I am in the Money... Not Bad for an Amature...

Men Don't Grow Old. They Grow Careful. -Ernest Hemingway (From A Farewell to Arms)

Maybe Ernest Hemmingway had something here. The older we are, the more careful we grow. If we are to grow old, then we must grow careful. If we are too careful, then we do not grow...

I have been blogging for nearly 11 months now. Over the course I have educated myself and readers about economic, historic, and political trends. I do, for the most part, spend a portion of each day browsing through blogs, news, the archaic form of news delivery known as a newspaper, and my favorite... casual conversation. This blog has in many ways became a tool for research and understanding. It has allowed significant insight into areas in which I had little to no understanding. In many ways, this blog represents a learning community. Learning alone is nice, but there is also a financial piece that has accompanied this blog... How do we profit from this market, or at the bare minimum, insulate ourselves from the varied havoc reeked by Wall Street and politicians in D.C..

Three Mega-trends for the Upcoming Year

1. The Financial Crisis is Far from Over

Pundits on Wall Street would like to see a bottom placed in the market. As we blogged earlier... there is little credibility left on Wall Street. I would like to reminder readers that we can turn on the TV daily to hear another TV personality call market bottom... only to be toasted days if not hours later. The complete meltdown of Bear Sterns, Lehman, and Washington Mutual reminds us that the financial problem is big... and it could be devastating. Likewise, charlatans like Bernie Madoff (with billions)who could well be the biggest scoundrel in the history of Wall Street to date, underscores the the economic minefield of Wall Street. For most, money is safer under a mattress than in the hands of a broker.

2. Foreclosures Galore
While we have blogged that 1-10 houses in the United States face financial ruin, we still do not comprehend the depth of this financial meltdown. One mid-west transplant from California remarked that the house he sold in Sunnyvale, CA has lost 10% of its value in the past six months. His insight into California's housing market could well be the most frightening. As a mortgage broker, he explained that option arms, negative arms, and Jumbo Loans have yet to reset. Even with the Federal Reset, there are a tremendous number of borrowers who will not be able to refinance... under ANY circumstances!!!

3. Deflation v. Inflation

In conversation with a programmer at the Department of Treasury, he stated that the Treasury is printing out too much money. Way too much money. Still though, he commented that Treasury is more concerned about deflation instead of inflation. This individual cited housing prices, oil prices, and all goods (with the exception of food) are coming down... way down. The Treasury and Fed have gone to great lengths to ensure that money is available to purchase these goods. When asked about BILLION dollar bailouts, TRILLION dollar stimulus packages, he simply commented that the economic meltdown is their biggest priority.

Portfolio Round-Up: I am in the Money

It is never kind to brag in light of the financial turmoil that has devastated world markets, but I will simply say that this blog, and fellow bloggers like Ax at bigbigbet have encouraged me more than ever to take charge of my finances. And with great risk came great reward.

Big Winners

PQ +215% Call
SPG +363% Put
VNO +280% Put
XLI +304% Put
XLY +477% Put


BAC 100% 12/25s Call: I underestimated the response of companies to the TARP. I was in good company as Buffet was said to have lost on the same calls... I followed the Oracle...and got punished for it.

TRLG -43% Puts: As a coach, I remind athletes that they should always give it their best. The worst thing they will do is lose! If only I would have heeded my own advice. But this was at the early stages of my option trading. You live and you learn.

Could Haves (Could Have Made More)... Should Haves (Should Have Sold Earlier)...

WGO -40% Put: My first option trade. I liked the triple convergence of consumer discretionary spending, high fuel prices, and unemployment to drive this one into a triple digit profit. Instead, I watched the value of this play paired... I started to panic... and that was that...

BAC -15% Put: BAC was a company I loved to hate... not only did I lose on the call side of transactions, I also lost on the puts as well. I became increasingly irritating when the government intervened this summer banning short selling... propping up this company... and I will still call CEO Ken Lewis not much less than a COMPLETE buffoon... Remember Ken if you are going to lie to the public, pick a story, rehearse the story, and stick to your story... Dare I say this could be another Citi destined for $6.00 per share. Go long on the discount price, this one is too big to fail...

COF +30% Put: Another joke still trading in the upper 20s. Like BAC, COF, and HBC, I watched triple digit profits evaporate before my eyes. At least I made a few bucks on this one...

HSBC -27% Put: Little did I know that our British cousins' situation was more dire than our own. The simple fact is that credit, as over-extended as it was here in the United States, it still wasn't as bad as Great Britain. They put a short sale ban on their financials as well... and the Tiger Coach got left holding the bag.

STI -40% Put: Their is no foreclosure crisis in Florida. At least that is what the fine folks as Sun Trust would have us believe. This bank was/is in about the same shape as NCC. Something tells me they could be one of the banks that received a loan from the FED in return for some of their useless collateral. I hope the Bloomberg Suit exposes all of these crooks for who they really are!!!

AU +10% Call/s: I traded this stock a few times buying at the open, and selling at close. I had built a nice system...and the system failed me. Kissed away approximately 40% in AU profits... and I have grown older...and wiser!!!

Not Bad for an Amature
I do not claim to be an expert. This blog is written in part as an intellectual exercise. It has given me the opportunity to observes the humor, trends, and absurdities of life. The economic, historical, and political realms are simply the venue of this observation. As far as investing goes, I was lucky to say that my portfolio at close of business today is up 88% for they year. Over 75% of these monies are currently in the market, with a reserve fund waiting for the best opportunity. I have a list of 10 stocks that could either make us rich or poor. I only ask that you share your thoughts with me. After all, I am not an "expert" like Thomas Lee or Jim Cramer.

These returns do not include the 403B plan which was saved by in large before the October and November meltdowns on Wall Street. As I watched the profits ebb away, and with the urging of Ax, I "wiped the board clean" and booked profits there as well. Those monies are currently sitting in T-Bills (1.3%) looking for the right place to move it.

In Closing: This is not my is Our blog...
I would like to thank all readers who have shared this journey. We have readers in five continents... from Capetown, Africa to Sydney, Australia...from Neidersachen, Germany to Bangladesh, India...and all over the United States. We have received letters from House of Representative members, Senators, and even members in U.S. government agencies. We also reach a variety of academic institution throughout the United States. We especially appreciate the comments of readers like Ax, DC North, Boom and Doom, Jimmy K., and a number of those who simply remain anonymous. Let's look forward to another profitable 2009.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Miracle on 34th Street... Age of the Empty Suit... $10,000,000 Bill?

The Miracle on 34th Street
You have to love family movie night. Tonight we watched the John Hughes version of Miracle on 34th Street. In the not too distant past, I distinctly remember going into the colossal department stores as a kid. Sitting on Santa Claus' lap. Getting a picture with Santa. And taking a ride down the slide back to mom and dad. Big Cleveland Department stores like May Company, Hallie's, and The Bing Company stood as icons of a thriving 1970's era retail. Big train displays, Winter Wonderland villages, and even a few elves.

One scene from the movie which really caught my eye was the flood of people coming in these stores to visit Santa Claus. Cole's had the best Santa Claus, and everybody else was jealous. We went out to see the real Santa Claus the other night. This required a track to Great Northern Mall on the west side of Cleveland. All that I could think of was a 40 minute drive, and another hour wait to see Santa. However, much to my chagrin, we were met with a 10 minute wait. And this guy is supposed to be the best Santa in Cleveland. According to the photographers, business was down approximately 30% from last year. That would suggest that 30% less people found themselves in the mall thus far during Christmas and Hanukkah shopping.

According to the Wall Street Journal, retail vacancies of strip malls surged to 8.4% in the third quarter. The report went on to say that vacancies increased in 76 of the U.S.'s top retail markets. Not to be outdone, these recognizable names are circling the wagons and closing stores inside the United States. Others are simply filing bankruptcy. Some of the names of troubled retailers include: Shoe Pavilion, Steve & Barry's, Gordman's, Radio Shack, JoAnn Fabric, Boscov's, Bennigan's, Winn Dixie, Office Max, Comp USA, Pier 1, Sharper Image, Starbucks, The Disney Store, Wilson's Leather, Talbots, Ann Taylor, Bombay Co. and more. This could well explain the added pressure on REITs that was seen last week. No wonder Mr. Wolstein dumped the vast majority of DDR. He got out went he getting was good!

Ironically, SPG and VNO surged last week. This suggests one of three scenarios:
1. A covering rally...meaning the stocks will be very ripe to short once again.
2. Momentum trade from TARP discussion that commercial real estate and consumer real estate could be the next beneficiaries on free monies.
3. A bottom was set, and now is the time to buy.

For my money, I find scenario number one to be the most logical explanation. Although, I am becoming increasingly suspicious of a TARP play here. Especially with Obama's high level appointment of a Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan. Donovan is known as a crusader against low-income foreclosure and housing management. Obama will need a point man on this issue as once source not only mentioned the next "reset of ARMs and Alt-A loans. "At present, one in 10 U.S. homeowners is either delinquent on mortgage payments or in foreclosure, With more than 259,000 homes receiving a foreclosure-related notice last month, the Federal Reserve has predicted that the nation's 2008 foreclosure figure will reach 2.25 million." (1)

The Age of the Empty Suit

The empty suit is a new reference to those who have lost all of their material wealth on Wall Street. In this case, many of those who lost it all were affiliates of Bernie Madoff...scoundrel extraordinaire! For many of us, we hear of the financial tragedies as they unravel... wince... hope that our financial futures are not effected... and think that we are a little bit luckier if not smarter than the next guy. After all, it is human nature. Wall Street Journal writer Peggy Noonan brings up the point "That’s the big thing at the heart of the great collapse, a strong sense of absence. Who was in charge? Who was in authority? The biggest swindle in all financial history if the figure of $50 billion is to be believed, and nobody knew about it, supposedly, but the swindler himself. The government didn’t notice, just as it didn’t notice the prevalence of bad debts that would bring down America’s great investment banks." (2) The government if not Wall Street's pimp, has at the bare minimum become an accessory to the crime of negligence. Banks, investment houses, and now multi-billion dollar Ponzi schemes is exactly what Wall Street does not need. For those who have put faith in the system, they are finding out that the world can be an ugly place. Who can you trust? And I am the type of guy who will put faith in the average American.

Our forefathers might easily allude to Nathaial Hawthorne's Grey Champion as guide, protector, and champion of the persecuted. However, most believe that heroes are in limited supply.

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away
(Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)

We are an optimistic people. We have and will continue to thrive on optimism and innovation. While the roads will be rocky for the next few years, I do believe this country will stand the test of time. We should experience “the current crisis” as “a gigantic wake-up call.” We’ve been living beyond our means, both governmentally and personally. “We have to be willing to face up to our problems. But we have a capacity to roll up our sleeves and get down to work together.” Americans tend to rally in crisis situations.


The other side of the coin leads us back to the bunker mentality. If you live in Zimbabwe, you would be best served to transact all business in silver, gold or other commodities. This week the government of Zimbabwe created a $10,000,000 note. Don't think for a second that you are rich. This note has the buying power of a new Zimbabwe dollar...deleveraging the old dollar...and creating the new...with 168 equaling one U.S. dollar. This is served as a reminder to all readers that:

1. The world needs the United States (as of now) in spite of our financial breakdown, we are still the most stable economy in the world. Even though the printing presses are overheating, countries are still flocking to the security of U.S. bonds. More importantly, bonds that are at a minimal yield.

2. If the United States does not grow the economy... or reduce spending, we could face a inflation...deflation scenario.

Kind of scary if you think about it.

Stock Positions:

Curtain Call for BAC as by 12/25s expired worthless...
AU 1/30s will look for an exit point...
GE 3/20s Some hope... looking for an exit point as well



New Considerations:


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Save the Drama... Stock Watch...

Save the Drama
Congress (the Senate to be precise), had made a critical vote about the Big Three Bailout. They voted NO to the bill. They had used the legislative authority authorized by our Founding Fathers in the U.S. Constitution to deny bailout funds to car-makers. Not that this was the final word in the matter. More than likely, the measure would have been picked up by the House of Representatives... revived... revised... and resubmitted to the Senate for another vote. But it was the vote that never was. The Department of Treasury under the approval of the Executive Branch of Government offered up TARP funds to Detroit.

Why all the drama? Good question. It appears that no one ever needed the approval of Congress to begin with. While our Founding Fathers decided that ALL spending measures must originate in the House of Representatives. However, the Executive Branch was once again by-passed the House, the Senate, and for all intensive his own party to extend a helping hand to the car makers.

To put it frankly, there are so many piggy banks in D.C. that can be raided, Congressional approval was only a minor formality to getting this deal done. Here are the piggy banks I can think of right now:
1. Congress
2. TARP Funds
3. Wall Street Emergency Funds
4. The Federal Reserve (Who is always intended to be the lender of last resort).

One thing is for certain, before our eyes government transparency, an essential element to democracy, is being destroyed. Without honesty and clarity, government (any government) becomes a tool to those who are in power. In the end the power is always used against the masses. The Roman Republic became the Roman Empire under the shadowy guises of looking out for the "people's best interests." A powerful few manipulated rules, laws, a republic traditions. The transformation continued until Rome was controlled by a dictatorship... then a triumvirate of strong men who eventually ran the empire into the ground. Without democracy, this country is dead... The people have no say in a government that is not representing their interests.

If the auto industry cannot get consumer money from selling cars, I hardly believe they should be given tax payer money to continue the same reckless policies that have landed them in this predicament. More anecdotal evidence of the union gone wild... One police officer said his best arrest came from a Ford worker who was one his way home from work. In Ohio, you are legally drunk at .08. You are smashed at .3. This fellow was at .5 which in most cases means he should be in a coma from intoxication. Instead, I remind you that he was on his way home from work, as in pulling right out of the plant. In another scenario, I was informed that the best duty to get as an employee is to be sent to the Gin-Pool. This means that when you report to work, you report to a staging area and wait to fill in for someone who calls in sick. If no one calls in sick, then you get to play cards and nap all day. At one auto plant, there are over 200 workers who are part of the Gin Pool. as for the auto industry, I have always made it a point to buy American cars... I just feel good about employing a fellow American.

The story to follow deals with a Sunshine Law suite filled by Bloomberg against the Fed. As it stands, the Fed has loaned well over a trillion ($1,000,000,000,000) to various financial institutions in the United States. These loans were not made with Congressional authority, nor any legislative oversight. Furthermore, now that the Fed has made these loans accepting Lord only knows for collateral, non one... NO ONE can find out who the loans were made to, nor the collateral that was used as security for the loan. While the Fed is using the official excuse as "trade secrets" for non-disclosure, when it is OUR money and OUR debt, every single American deserves to know. And this is why governments need transparency!!! I will once again write every Congressman I can reach... I beg each reader of this blog to do the same!!!

Stock Watch
Unemployment revisions suggest that the numbers will always be estimated on the low end... revised a week later as to help cushion the real blow. No sense on hitting XLY or XLI yet, but I will start bidding on June puts. Wynn and MCRI still stand as slam dunks here. I am increasingly suspicious that inflation, once America's leading export could well be replaced with deflation. Even though treasuries are at historic lows, there is more to be said on this subject. Shorting the dollar may be another play in the deflation scenario. UDN is a consideration as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wal-Mart's Wisdom... Sin City Silence... Commercial Real Estate Re-Visited...

Cash is king... just ask Wal-Mart. The retailing giant made an announcement today that they are holding on to cash, and putting share buy-backs on hold. While investors have been rewarded a whopping 18% for holding Wal-Mart for the last year, even the master of retail sees the significance of putting additional share buy-backs on hold. Currently, Wal-Mart has $5 billion allocated toward additional buybacks. Could it be that the cash-rich retail giant for-sees big problems for the American consumer? Could Wal-Mart set another troubling trend for Wall Street bulls? This could well be the green light to short the !@#$@% out of any retailer that has seen a bump... the all-around play could be XLY. I was looking for an additional "feel good" run for shorting this one again... I will look to buy on any tick to the upside...6/15s are an idea. I have also considered some specialty retailers like TIF.

Some people call in discretionary consumer spending. Others call is play money... Whatever you want to call it money is not getting spent in places like Las Vegas. With convention bookings down by more than 18%, Las Vegas in no longer the impervious desert recession-proof oasis that it used to be. The Gaming conventions that meet in Sin City this week will find little solace in the current economic climate. After all, gaming in the United States could well be coming to a whimpering end. "This is as bad as it has ever been from a consumer-confidence standpoint," said Jim Murren, president and chief operating officer of MGM Mirage. "We have had a few recessions here in the past, but none as severe as the one we are in right now." While we have seen a covering rally for stocks of late, rest assured... Casino and gaming equipment makers are in for the beating of their lives. Cheap credit rates... and infrastructure projects will do nothing to help these places out. And 80% of the stimulus checks that Obama and friends will pass out as already been spent! I have seen WYNN taking a severe beating only to rally back. I believe this is another entry to to add additional contracts to my 3/30s put position. MCRI which has a projected earnings growth rate of 16% will see a reversal that could well lead them to negative growth. Unlike Las Vegas, MCRI has exposure in Reno... and NO ONE goes to Reno for gambling. Furthermore, MCRI's recent rally can be directly attributed to a covering rally. There will be no good news to come out of Las Vegas a.k.a. the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis. As one cab driver said, "It is worse than after 9/11."

VNO and SPG are back on the board. In a gravity defying move both have risen to the point that they are in the safe range to short once again. I have really given up asking the basic question as to "why" these stocks rise... I just know that they are rising for no legitimate reason, and when the market comes to its senses, these dandies are goners! The SRS play is another consideration...{E95D4A0E-05B7-4967-94D4-A56CB872648A}&dist=TNMostRead

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Message from Dr. Doom, Mortgage and Rates, Expert Opinions... Stock Moves...

A Message from Dr. Doom
Marc Faber known by many as Dr. Doom believes 2009 could well mark a deepening of the world recession. While Faber admits that he miscalculated the positive impact of liquidity injections that the Fed has taken. However, the key story is the derivatives market. With a general over-extension in credit, and the complete depth of "bad debt" unknown, there could well be a scenario for further unraveling. "When credit growth began slowing in 2007 and when asset markets sold off, a huge de-leveraging process was triggered, which then brought about further price falls and caused further de-leveraging. In addition to the severity and speed at which asset markets collapsed globally, volatility also increased to record highs — not just for equities but also for commodities, currencies and bonds." Expect equity returns to remain weak as long as market volatility remains. Equity prices around the world are down nearly 50%. Home values and commodity prices are also down by half. Noticeably absent from Dr. Doom is the impact of lower oil prices which would be a net positive on world economies, and unemployment which trumps almost any other indicator! It doesn't matter how cheap gas is if the consumer does not have a job. With November unemployment at 535,000, December could well surpass that number... Last, Dr. Doom believes gold and gold miners are the winners.

Mortgage and Rates...

The good news is that rates have dropped to 5.65% for a 30 mortgage. This should be helpful to those who have the ability to service that debt. The fundamental problem of the credit crisis was never the fact that rates were low... The real problem was that credit was extended to people and businesses who did not deserve it. We are reminded that terms like sub-prime and Alt-A became common vocabulary among mortgage brokers and bankers. Seeing other untapped revenue streams, lenders were willing to extend home equity loans to people at 125% of their home value. According to Alphaville's Stace-Marie Ishmael "One tenth of all homeowners with a mortgage in the US were either behind on their payments or facing foreclosure in the third quarter of the year, according to data released on Friday by the Mortgage Bankers Association." The good news is the opportunity to re-finance three and five year ARMS. More importantly though, is the fact that borrowers may no longer qualify for loans due to property devaluation and tightened lending standards. If Fannie and Freddie back all of these loans, we are all is much more trouble than we realize.

Ask the Experts...

In June, I noted that Morgan Stanley's Thomas Lee made several recommendations about up and coming sectors. I equated these sectors with XLF, XLY, and XLE. I know Lee is an expert... and knows a heck of a lot more about the stock market than I do. So, I thought it would be a good ideas to check out these sectors. Here is what I found out:
XLF -45% from recommendation date.
XLY -35% from recommendation date.
XLE -48% from recommendation date.

Now Bob Froehlich vice-chairman and chief investments strategist believes 2009 will be a "very good year for the DOW!" Froelich believes that Dow will approach the 12,500 level next year with the greatest upside potential being the financial services sector. However, Froleich gave himself an out suggesting that three areas could have a negative impact on the financial markets: 1. cut in oil production
2. Rising Unemployment and 3. Political in-fighting on a Obama stimulus package.
So today 12/7/2008 we will assign Mr. Froelich three stocks that represent his expertise: DIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average Index), XLF (Financial services SPDR... sorry Mr. Lee he is recommending this one a little lower than you), and KEY because Forelich sees additional consolidation in the financial services sector.

My Stock Moves

I opened new positions in:
MLHR 5/12.5s
MDC 3/22.5s
MCRI 6/5s...
And still hold short positions here:
CNK 3/10s, FXI 5/16s, RYL 4/12.5s, WYNN 3/35s, BBW 1/10/5s
I still hold Calls on:
AU 1/30s, BAC 12/25s (which will more than likely expire worthless), GE 3/25s

Monday, December 1, 2008

The New Odd Couple... Cease and Desist... The Three B's...

The New Odd Couple
If you believe that politics create strange bedfellows, then one would need not look further than the political fervor that is being created by Dennis Kucinich and Steve LaTourette. While both politicians are polar opposites, the National City Crisis has brought them to a common ground. In typical Dennis Kucinich fashion, he has raised ethical and procedural questions about the PNC purchase of NCC. In a letter to a vice president of the Federal reserve, Kucinich outlined his reasons for either nixing the NCC purchase, or extending the comment period by 30 days:
1) to protect jobs, convenience, and needs of the Greater Cleveland community;
2) to protect the interests of the shareholders; and
3) to assure that public funds are not being used to distort the banking market to pick winners and losers. (1)
Dennis you have a heart of gold. By the real issue at hand and the only one that seems to gain any traction in D.C. is point number three. This is where Steve LaTourette has tagged in. LaTourette's membership on the Financial Services committee provided he and Kucinich with a 90 minute meeting regarding the TARP with Neel Kashkari. (2) While immediate details were not available due the sensitive nature of business, I can only imagine the discussion when all of National City's cards were laid upon the table... With LaTourette's brains and Kucinich's win one for the Gipper attitude maybe just maybe there will be a part two to this story!

AmTrust Cease and Desist...
Cleveland's fourth largest bank AmTrust, has received a Cease and Desist order from the Federal Reserve. The order put officials on notice at AmTrust that they need to build reserves and deposits in order to continue loan operations. There is considerable speculation that AmTrust's Florida exposure could be the culprit of this recent unraveling. Note that AmTrust immediately placed pink slips in employee mailboxes. Maybe with a bit of help from Treasury, maybe PNC will buy them next...

The Three B's

In school this refers to dress code violations: Bellies, Breasts, and Butts... In the world of economic panic it stands for Bullion, Bullets, and Bibles. Strange as it may seem, but one blogger noted the increased interest in gun sales and safes. Evidently, the Bunker Mentality is gripping some people more than others. While I am rather quick to discount this blogger, he did note an interesting fact. "Breadlines did not appear immediately after the 1929 Crash." The first soup kitchens appeared in 1933... The blogger's point was that Wall Street indicators take a while to play out on Main Street. While some of these points are valid, I believe our government is better positioned to meet needs and demands if there ever was a "true" panic.
Did you Hear, it's official?