Monday, July 27, 2009


Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society’s workload, from waging war to chatting with customers on the phone.

Here is a novel idea: How about machine-run Ponzis??? Just think of the mouth-watering possibilities: from automated fictional statements generation, to empathy for the investors/victims (-I 've lost all my retirement money!! -Oh no, sorry to hear that")

Friday, July 24, 2009

After the Gold(man) Rush

It seems nowadays that everybody’s concern (including ours) is how Goldmans manages to dodge all market crises unscathed.

The latest piece dubbing Goldmans the Wall Street Bubble Mafia has generated controversy, with Goldmans firing back that Taibbi's piece is "an hysterical compilation of conspiracy theories" and a spokesman adding, "We reject the assertion that we are inflators of bubbles and profiteers in busts, and we are painfully conscious of the importance in being a force for good."

Taibbi shot back: "Goldman has its alumni pushing its views from the pulpit of the U.S. Treasury, the NYSE, the World Bank, and numerous other important posts; it also has former players fronting major TV shows. They have the ear of the president if they want it."

Rest assured my Dear Readers, that the Balcony will be watching this space closely, whilst looking for other Neil Young gold-related titles…

Blue Screen of Death


So basically this is it. Green shoots, brown shoots, whatever. California, no doubt about it…as Tupac used to say. Random photo from an ATM somewhere inside the 5th or 6th largest economy in the world, with a huge budget deficit of somewhere around 25 billion. And the ATM says i am so sorry but today’s special is cash only. Now, if i lived there i would be getting pretty scared by now.

PS maybe Arnie instead of IOUs can pay with signed autographs or something.

via boing boing

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Heart of Gold(man)

The American economy remains in dire straits, with one worker in six unemployed or underemployed. Yet Goldman Sachs just reported record quarterly profits — and it’s preparing to hand out huge bonuses, comparable to what it was paying before the crisis. What’s wrong in this picture?

Paul Krugman explains why it is called Goldman Sachs instead of Goldman Sucks…



“I’m no saint,”

Another day, another beautiful commentario from il Cavaliere. This time in responce to him accepting that something may have probably or potentially happened with escort D’Addario. For those of you with less than a Gig of RAM, that’s the same escort he denied even meeting or knowing or having any physical contact in another memorable quote, just from last month :

"I have never paid a woman. I've never understood what satisfaction there is other than that of conquering a woman."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summertime Blues

Apparently not everybody is awake from the collective nightmare of the global meltdown as I was suggesting the other day.

Karl Denninger's excellent piece from the always interesting Market Ticker is required reading for everybody. Not only for its sobering assessment of where we really are today (and the likely ramifications), but also because for the first time, as far as I can tell, somebody is offering a sensible and feasible (albeit extremely painful and thus extremely unlikely to happen) way for us to get out of this mess.

(Holiday Warning: If you are lying on a beach somewhere, make sure you put off reading this until you get back, because otherwise you may decide it ain't worth coming back at all)...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nobody will notice

Interesting story come up a few days ago, which turns out that its actually not a real transaction but some kind of hacker scam thing on many people with the exact same amount charged on their credit cards.

Our investigative team up here on the balcony has actually figured out that its Tim Geithner. This is probably his last resort effort to fix this financial crisis thing that everybody keeps talking about, plus keep some change around in case the media invent some new thing on a slow news day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Best Is Yet To Come

I am sure you remember how in the midst of the global meltdown just a few months (years?) ago, everybody was pointing fingers to the MBA programs of the country for producing clueless, greedy business leaders who eventually led us into this mess. Serious analysts were arguing that MBA schools have nothing to offer and should be shut down. The accusations were so severe that even the most sacred of them all, Harvard BS had to make a case about itself (how much more introverted can you get?), to identify its shortcomings and find ways to repair its badly damaged reputation.

Well, I am happy to report that they must have done a really great job with that case study (we have come to expect nothing less anyway), since they announced yesterday that this fall they will be enrolling their largest incoming class in history!!!

HBS is enrolling record numbers, Goldman just had its best quarter ever, I get the feeling these days, that this global meltdown thing was just a really bad collective nightmare and it never actually happened. We are all awake and relieved now, ready to continue our marry ways...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You 'll Be Out in No Time...

After taking a much-needed, almost month-long sabbatical (anything in excess of two weeks can no longer be called a "vacation" in the modern corporate world), I am really happy to be back on my seat at the Balcony, my dear Readers (if any of you are still around, that is).

There is a lot of ground that we shall try to cover over the next days so let me get straight to the point. I am sure that the US government's sense of humor demonstrated in Bernie's sentencing was not lost to any of you. The 71-year old convict was sentenced to... 150 years in prison and is schedulled to be released on November 14, 2139 (at what time exactly?)! Producing extremely detailed figures which bear absolutely no resemblance to actual reality is, I guess, the government's way of paying tribute to the thousands of monthly account statements Bernie was sending to his clients throughout all these years; and ironically it would only take a slightly more careful look at these statements to spot the discrepancies and reveal the scam (for example 2139 is 130 and not 150 years away)...

The icing on the cake? Bernie was moverd yesterday to U.S. Penitentiary Atlanta, the exact same prison that housed Charles Ponzi almost 100 years ago! What's the chance of this being a coincidence? Well, about as high as making 17% return on investments for 22 years in a row, I would reckon...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Title of the week

Wells Fargo Bank Sues Itself

I know it’s only Monday, but it was a winner.

Friday, July 10, 2009

When in L'Aguila do as the L'Aguilans do

Check out this picture form the G8 summit. Ts ts ts ts. The one time that you leave Berlusconi in charge to organise the summit in Italy and it seems that every major world leadder wants to play along.

The deaf leading the blind

So every analyst in the world knows that part of his job is to value some company for the purpose of giving a recommendation to his clients about said stock, maybe do a little frontrunning in the process but that’s not the point of this post really.

But then once in a little while a brilliant staralyst comes along and issues a stock report that reads a little something like this : potential for zero equity value on AIG.So what’s the problem you ask. He works for Citibank.

I fully expect that in this stupidity infused climate we live in Barney Frank or someone will step up and propose that no TARPed bank can talk shit about another TARPed bank until they have repaid back their allowance.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Marketing 101

We used to have Berlusconi. The one top global political figure that you could trust to basically toss political correctness aside and just do as the I-talians do. But lately, there is a new contender in town, the Russians. Specifically the comedic duo of Medvedev and Putin who feel that political correctness is for gays, women and Georgians…

Case is point, Medvedev announces the new 2,5 B joint venture between Gazprom and Nigerian government, aptly named Nigaz!!! Obviously back in the day, they must have deported every marketing executive in the country…

Aaaaah Sweet Fraud Tax Deductibility

How do you know that a certain business activity has become mainstream? When the government wants to tax it. Obviously the opposite has to be true, and today we have in our hands a fine specimen of such government thinking.

The IRS is offering tax breaks for ponzi scheme victims. So basically if you bought into a ponzinvestment, you can claim that back as losses in your IRS filling. So in theory you could get back money from previous tax paid because of gains claimed in such games. Of course no word yet on what happens when you have to return back any money paid out in the last 6 years…Bon chance mes amis.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hit the virtual TARP bitch

As if our real financial problems are not enough, as if the world is not cascading into absolute doom, now we have to contend with solving our virtual financial apocalypse and our virtual problems. What is it with humans (virtual or otherwise) that need to scam and embezzle whatever they can get their greedy little paws on.
At least they can try to hit up Geithner for that TARP money to save their little world from collapse. I mean he's been printing money like there's no tomorrow (bridging the gap between real and virtual) it's not as if he is gonna stop now is it?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


So it seems, that some solutions to some problems are just there, starring us in the face. Case in point this ingenious solution to the ancient problem of corruption, that has been plaguing nations around the world for ever. Who knew it was that simple.

All we need now is to bring on board the rest of the world, and make this mandatory for everyone that can potentially be bribed. Give the contracts to (obviously pocketless trousered executives of) clothing manufacturers and we may also have the ticket to getting out of this recession. Kachiiiing!

Doin’ Time in the USA

For those finance professionals out there trying to set up their own business and looking for ideas and inspiration, please listen to this song by one of the greatest bands ever and then go to this website. The potential is huge…