Recent comments by Mike in Long Island

Printing the Drachma: The Messy Future of a Post-Euro Greece - Bloomberg Business

“A currency is a national business card, so you want to make it right,” said Ralf Wintergerst, head of banknote production at Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, a Munich company that has printed banknotes since the days of Germany’s Reichsmark in the 1920s.
Wintergerst says introducing a new currency typically takes at least six months, and sometimes as long as two years. Artists must draw the notes, security experts then add anti-counterfeiting measures such as watermarks and special inks, and bank officials need to plan how much of each denomination is needed and get the money to banks.

I guess he isn't terribly concerned about bitcoin and other digital currencies. Of course, lacking a physical banknote makes it that much easier to re-stock ATM's and other things.

I have to go dig up "When Money Dies" and give it another read through. In some ways a digital only currency is a central banks ideal currency.

Puerto Rico's public corporations owe roughly $25 billion dollars to creditors. One of the first tests of García Padilla's new stance on debt was a $400 million payment due from its power authority, PREPRA, on Wednesday. It was reportedly delivered, but only after the authority obtained $128 million in short-term debt from insurance companies that have sold policies on its bonds and would pay investors in the event of a default.

From reddit - a first hand account from an American tourist in Greece

Greeks Are Emptying Their Bank Accounts After Last Night's Referendum Announcement : worldnews

[–]feigns_NA 473 points 10 hours ago
I'm an American on vacation in Greece at the moment. Not only is there a run on the bank going on, but businesses are not accepting credit cards either. I am currently waiting in line for one atm out of three that still has some cash left. Crazy times.

An interesting visualization from 2012 on who lent the money to Greece...

European Debt Crisis: Greece Debt: Who Loaned the Money?

As far as being contained....

German bank exposure to Greece around $28 billion: banks
| Reuters

German banks have about 23.5 billion euros ($28 billion) in credit exposure to Greece, but the systemic risk is limited because the biggest commercial banks, Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and Commerzbank (CBKG.DE), hold only a tiny fraction of that, according to figures gathered by Reuters.

The lion's share of German exposure is held by the state-owned development bank KfW, with lending to the Greek state totaling 15 billion euros, banking industry group BdB said.

Commerzbank said it held about 400 million euros in exposure to Greece at the end of September, while Deutsche Bank said it held around 298 million euros in corporate, bank and public debt.

Maybe the Greeks could declare Financial Engineer's Day?

I think Engineers would rightfully be offended....

File under collateral damage...

Draghi’s Greek Bank Options Present Bleak Choices as ECB Meets - Bloomberg Business

Tightening collateral requirements
While the ECB insists that the Greek central bank impose discounts on the collateral it accepts against ELA, to protect against losses, those so-called haircuts haven’t changed throughout the recent crisis.
Should the ECB decide to increase the haircuts to reflect the increased probability that banks won’t repay the cash, that would effectively limit their access to ELA and potentially lead to capital controls.
Barclays Plc calculates that banks could access another 29 billion euros of aid based on their collateral and on the assumption that current haircuts, which aren’t public, average about 48 percent. Should the haircuts be raised to 60 percent, it estimates the collateral buffer would be wiped out.
The ECB could also tighten collateral requirements by deciding that some assets are no longer eligible because of their quality.

Margin call of Cthulhu is calling, please pick up line one.

Holiday's are good right?

Running Out of Cash, Greece Counts on ECB to Avert Black Monday - Bloomberg Business

“Monday could be a bank holiday” in Greece, Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said late Saturday. “It’s not a question of waiting to see what might happen on Monday in terms of crisis. The crisis has commenced.”

My personal feeling is, the fed should raise rates a percent, this quarter, and a percent next quarter. And then when congress starts spazzing out tell them nothing doing until they raise taxes and commit to some credible fiscal stimulus. Then when congress does nothing, raise rates another percent.

I'm envisioning the epic Cramer rant that would ensue after the first 100bps. Spontaneous combustion on live tv.

I'd welcome a driveby from counterpointer to get his color commentary.


Stock Futures of Major World Indexes - Bloomberg

Spoos off 9 pts.

Dow off 77 pts.

Let's see what happens to the 10 year US Treasury yield when it begins trading.

The Germans do not understand there is a limit to the cycle of more austerity, and more economic depression ... eventually, in a democracy, the people will say "no".

What if you live in a kleptocracy?

Cozumel - hope you spend some of that time under the waves as well - drift diving FTW!

If you have time robj, I recommend taking the ferry over to the mainland. it was @ 4 yrs ago but we did that and rented a car to head south to the Mayan ruins at Coba.

Be prepared to do some hiking, bring plenty of water and take lots of pics. Very humbling experience to see first hand the aftermath of a society that faded into the jungle. We hired a local guide onsite of Mayan descent (so he said) - it was well worth it to have some local knowledge guide us through the site.

The language of arrogance derived from too much time in unopposed power.

Preet Bharara creeps closer to Cuomo with latest indictment | New York Post

The latest indictment by Bharara formalized corruption charges against Skelos (R-Nassau), who just resigned as Senate majority leader, and his son, Adam, but added an important element.
The indictment said a state-regulated insurance company — identified as the Bonomo-run Physicians Reciprocal Insurers (PRI) — gave Adam Skelos a no-show job worth more than $100,000 at a time when it was lobbying Sen. Skelos on legislative matters.
A spokesman for the Roslyn, LI-based insurer said Friday that Bonomo — who with family members contributed nearly $250,000 to Cuomo’s campaign committee — and others at the company “are fully cooperating with the US Attorney’s Office.”

Oops. Left out the punch line

During one secretly recorded chat, Adam Skelos complained to his father, “You can’t talk normally because it’s like f---ing Preet Bharara is listening to every f---ing phone call. It’s just f---ing frustrating.” His father replied, “It is.”

“I’m going to be president of the Senate,” he told his son. “I’m going to be majority leader. I’m going to control everything. I’m going to control who gets on what committees, what legislation goes to the floor, what legislation comes through committees — the budget, everything.”

The scheme centered on a prominent developer who’s now cooperating with the feds and which sources identified as Glenwood Management. Glenwood is also involved in the Silver corruption case.

Glenwood got Skelos to promote tax breaks and rent-stabilization laws favorable to developers. The company has showered donations on both parties for years, taking advantage of loopholes in campaign-finance laws.

Glenwood arranged a $20,000 no-show job for Adam Skelos and set up monthly payments, eventually totaling $198,000, from an environmental tech firm, prosecutors charged.

I see poic has gotten creative


SEC Reviews Fishy Avon Bid - WSJ

Avon’s shares shot up by more than 20% midday to nearly $8 after an entity calling itself PTG Capital Partners Ltd. said in a securities filing that it had lodged a bid of $18.75 a share to buy the company.

Efforts by The Wall Street Journal to reach PTG Capital or verify its existence were unsuccessful. The firm isn’t registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. An initial call to the contact number listed in the SEC filing went to voice mail, which said the subscriber was either on the phone or hadn’t set up a voice-mail account. Twelve minutes later, the voice mail said the caller had reached PTG Capital.

The listed address, 125 Old Broad Street, formerly housed the London Stock Exchange. It is now an office tower.

The apparent Avon hoax underscores a weakness in the SEC’s “Edgar” filing system. It is relatively easy to set up a fake account and make fraudulent filings directly to a legitimate firm’s cache of disclosures. To make filings, one only needs to provide Edgar with a street address and a document signed by a notary, according to an Edgar user’s manual published by the SEC.

From Matt Levine via Bloomie

Nomura and RBS Told a Few Mortgage Fibs - Bloomberg View

As for Nomura knowing specifically about the defects, Judge Cote describes the actual process of securitization in some detail, explaining how Nomura would bid to buy mortgages from originators, and would then conduct due diligence after winning the auction but before closing the purchase. Her conclusion is that Nomura's diligence was rushed and defective, and overly influenced by the trading desk's desire to buy loans, but still rigorous enough to find lots of defects in the loans the desk had agreed to purchase. But then Nomura largely ignored those defects, telling its due diligence consultants to change the loans' grades from failing to passing, so that Nomura could securitize the loans.

Looks like I should have held out for another 3800 per square foot.

South Beach may as well be another universe or an alternate reality. I hadn't been there for a few years and was a bit shocked at the money that was being thrown around. I guess $950 magnums of vodka are de riguer these days for bottle service at the clubs.

Random housing data point.

I was in Miami recently. Cranes dotted the skyline. Someone in a position to know said there were currently 40,000 condo units under development. At the market peak in 2007 there were 30,000.

I also heard of a residential place in south beach closing recently for $3900 - per sq foot.

ZIRP makes all things possible...

Perhaps of interest to some

Higher education is enormously important to individual and collective prosperity. Yet
escalating costs have created an urgent need for more and better information about the
huge investment in time and money on the part of students, families, and taxpayers.

Citywide spending on the construction of apartments skyrocketed to a record $11.9 billion in 2014, a massive 73% rise over the last 12 months and nearly $5 billion over the previous record, according to a new report by the New York Building Congress.

But more dollars spent doesn't necessarily mean more housing for New Yorkers.

Instead, developers are plowing historic levels of cash into delivering only a few massive high-end pads with luxe finishes targeted at the global elite.

“With all this spending, you might wonder if the walls are made of heroin instead of sheet rock,” said real estate broker Jason Haber of Warburg Realty. “But developers need to spend a lot and deliver that razzmatazz if they’re going to attract these types of buyers.”

Just 20,329 new units of housing were produced last year, a comparatively meager 11% annual increase from the year before and well short of the 30,000 units of new housing that were created annually between 2005 and 2008.

Good for tools and finishing a new edge. I find using the Chicago Cutlery steel to keep an edge is an easy habit to adopt.

Dexter makes a quality product. Having worked on a fishing boat I swear by their high carbon fillet knives. Leave the knife in a bucket of salt water over night to develop a protective patina. You can do the same with an acidic solution like ketchup or mustard if you are in a hurry.

I used either a 6" boning knife for round fish or an 8" fillet knife for flat fish.

Boning Knives - Traditional - Dexter Russell, Inc.

Fish and Fillet - Traditional - Dexter Russell, Inc.

What the Next Two Weeks Holds in Store in the Greek Crisis Saga - Bloomberg Business

While focus now turns on a May 6 interest repayment to the International Monetary Fund and the next Eurogroup meeting on May 11 in Brussels, the country has a number of funding hurdles to clear before then and beyond.

From Monday through to the end of the month, the government needs to pay pensions and salaries to civil servants and retirees. The country’s alternate finance minister, Dimitris Mardas said Wednesday there’s not enough cash in state coffers to meet these obligations, unless local authorities comply with a decree ordering them to transfer reserves to the Bank of Greece for short-term financing of the central government.

A public holiday on May 1 will give the government a brief stay over payment of about 200 million euros interest payment to the IMF. As the deadline coincides with the holiday, followed by a weekend, the payment can be delayed until May 6, two days after it receives payment notification, a person familiar with the matter said.

Going through the local paper I see some more foreclosures hitting the public and legal notices section.

One caught my eye - $719,000 is the amount of the lien. The lien holder is Goshen Mortgage LLC on behalf of a 2011 vintage Trust. Goshen is owned by these guys - Spurs Capital, LLC | Mortgage Investment Firm their tag line Positively contributing to the re-emergence of a stronger, healthier mortgage market.

The house last sold for $575,000 in 2006. So someone heloc'd the heck out of it seeing as how the bubble had already popped by 2010 or 2011. Not sure what the mortgage co was thinking besides, repackage, sell and keep the servicing rights....

The county assessed value is $390k - it would probably sell for $425 to $475k assuming the interior hasn't been gutted. That there lien has some negative equity....

As a judicial foreclosure state the time to foreclosure is @ 3 years start to finish these days.

Old New Jersey Factory to House Earth’s Largest Vertical Farm | Urbanist

Opening this year in Newark, this 69,000-square-foot space will grow 2 million pounds of pesticide-free produce each year, turning an old steel factory into the largest indoor farm on the planet, 75 times more productive per square foot than open fields.

Kate Bush - Cloudbusting - Official Music Video - YouTube

I think she doesn't get the recognition she deserves. I really like her music.

Funny how free market solutions like bid fading help improve everyday life.

Did you know that the Exchange Act of '34 excludes government bonds from the rule relating to the prohibition on the manipulation of security prices?

SEC. 9. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly,
by the use of the mails or any means or instrumentality of
interstate commerce, or of any facility of any national securities exchange,
or for any member of a national securities exchange—
(1) For the purpose of creating a false or misleading appearance
of active trading in any security other than a government security,
or a false or misleading appearance with respect to the market
for any such security,

Speaking of spoofing, I saw a tweet about Uber drivers canceling a ride once surge pricing kicks in.

Fading the market....

I saw this today and figured some here might appreciate this take on 'merican exceptionalism....

HAM on Vimeo

traderwalt - if you're still here I'm interested in hearing your take on the spoofing and layering violations you spoke of.

There's a new latin inscription on the building over on Maiden Lane - running it through the google translator results in the following

"What began under that verdant span,
calibrated under the bearded one
has us today yelling 'profits are privatized and losses are socialized'
thanks to kimye, tebow, and the rest for
panem et circenses"

De Blasio tax returns show $218K in income - Newsday

Although they earned about $65,000 in rental income from the home they rented after moving to Gracie Mansion and another one in Brooklyn where his late mother once lived, they reported a net loss of about $10,000 as a result of mortgage payments, repairs, depreciation and management fees, Spitalnick said.

Rent Mayor Bill de Blasio's Park Slope House for $4,975/Month - Political Real Estate - Curbed NY

De Blasio flouting filing rules on $1.1M rental pad | New York Post

De Blasio bought the rental property in 2004 with his wife, Chirlane McCray, and his mom, Maria Wilhelm. They paid $612,500 for the row house at 384 11th St., built around 1901. It is on the same Park Slope street where the couple lives with their two children.

City records show the renovation work cost about $40,000.
Wilhelm died in 2007, and de Blasio has rented out both units, public records show. The second-floor, one-bedroom, apartment is currently available for $2,200 a month. It is advertised as having stainless-steel appliances, granite counters, upgraded kitchen cabinets and hardwood floors.

De Blasio’s campaign spokesman, Wiley Norvell, claimed the building doesn’t make a profit.
He declares the property as an asset on his filing, but the property has a negative income when you add up the depression of water and upkeep,” Norvell said.

Crain’s reported that de Blasio’s 2011 tax return showed $47,500 in rental income and $62,200 in deductions for the property

The doody, like the swiss chard, is bountiful.

Just wait until they start on solid foods. I can recall some epic blowouts. File those memories away to use them at the appropriate time in the future to embarrass your offspring.

Swiss chard is very hip right now, for those turned off by the popularity of kale.

How's diaper duty?

How about turning indoor malls located in the upper mid-west into Hydoponic gardens for winter vegies?

PlantLab: Urban Farms 40 Times More Productive than Open Fields | Urbanist

A Dutch firm on the cutting edge of indoor agriculture estimates that producing food for the entire world could take place in a space far smaller than the area occupied by Holland, using just 10% of the water needed by traditional farms. The proposal is not without precedent – Japan already has one prototype urban farm that is 100 times more productive than farmers’ fields.

And when they're broke, their stock should go to zero.

Burn the heretic! Quick, fetch a pail!

I get that, but presumably you were not the one short selling financial stocks directly - you were buying the derivative or index fund that was doing so, and could exit the trade / sell your SKF/SRS?

Sure I was just pointing out the fun times that were had. Now we have a market structure designed to remove all volatility from the market. Sounds great in theory but in practice......

The Vapors - Turning Japanese - YouTube

Yeah, but those are derivatives. You can get out of them at will, though it may be at a loss.

SEC Halts Short Selling of Financial Stocks to Protect Investors and Markets (Press Release No. 2008-211)

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said, “The Commission is committed to using every weapon in its arsenal to combat market manipulation that threatens investors and capital markets. The emergency order temporarily banning short selling of financial stocks will restore equilibrium to markets. This action, which would not be necessary in a well-functioning market, is temporary in nature and part of the comprehensive set of steps being taken by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and the Congress.”

This decisive SEC action calls a time-out to aggressive short selling in financial institution stocks, because of the essential link between their stock price and confidence in the institution. The Commission will continue to consider measures to address short selling concerns in other publicly traded companies.

Under normal market conditions, short selling contributes to price efficiency and adds liquidity to the marketsAt present, it appears that unbridled short selling is contributing to the recent, sudden price declines in the securities of financial institutions unrelated to true price valuation. Financial institutions are particularly vulnerable to this crisis of confidence and panic selling because they depend on the confidence of their trading counterparties in the conduct of their core business.

Last time real estate was an obvious short, yet many lost theirs...

You're just bitter that you don't even have certificates to remember your bitcoin by.

Hmmmn.. Business opportunity?

SRS and SKF treated me berry, berry well. Right up until teh Bernanke opened the spigot.

Of course, good luck squeezing a buck out of most of the list here.

poic had first mover advantage and anyone left who subscribed to his newsletter likely has some New Century Financial, Washington Mutual , and Lehman stock certificates as collateral.

I wrote down the return number the last time they called.

I haven't gotten that one yet. I have had the "this is such and such. We've been hired by Microsoft to install a Windows patch on your computer. Are you near your computer? Can you go online and go to our website so we can install the patch?"

Typically they will have an Slavic accent.

She might like a nice belt pouch. Just big enough to carry a wallet and phone.

When I was in retail a retired corrections officer who worked security in the store wore a fanny pack. Not terribly stylish but it keep two things close at hand.

His cigarettes and his sidearm.

Reinstate the draft for everybody and the wars will end within weeks.

Yeah - like there would ever be a draft with no special snowflake exemptions.

"Why this draftee could never serve. They have so much more to offer the country in other ways! You can leave now Ted Cruz Jr."

I graduated the year you didn't even have to sign up for the SS. Thank goodness.

I'm not sure that's even an option. I had to sign up as did my son who just turned 18.

I graduated in the class of 1966--- the most drafted class of the Nam "Police Action".

My dad was class of '63 if I'm not mistaken. Drafted into the army and got orders twice to go to Vietnam. Both times one of his brothers was already deployed and both times he was given a choice to remain stateside or go overseas. He stayed stateside otherwise I might not be here.

Lawyers being laywers

Lawyer Suing Neighbor for Smoking Is Defender Of Corporations Accused Of Toxic Smoke |

Gray has lived in his home for 51 years; the Coppingers moved into theirs last fall. The Coppingers say that cigarette and marijuana smoke is seeping into their bedroom and their child’s bedroom. The Washington Post quoted Nessa Coppinger, 38 and pregnant with the couple’s second child, as saying, “This is a health concern. We don’t smoke. We don’t allow smoking in our home.” They are seeking $500,000 in damages from Gray and his sister, who owns the house.

Nessa Horewitch Coppinger’s practice focuses on complex environmental litigation, including multi-district litigation and multi-party product liability, toxic tort, and class action matters… She has achieved favorable results for states, counties, and corporate clients, including Fortune 100 companies … Examples of Ms. Coppinger’s experience include: Defending numerous products liability and toxic tort cases related to alleged groundwater contamination involving a gasoline additive in both federal and state courts….

In other words, some of Coppinger’s work involves trying to defeat the legal claims of people who contend they have been harmed by toxic pollution.

U.S. Home Prices Are Surging 13 Times Faster Than Wages - Bloomberg Business

Using localized earnings data, RealtyTrac also found that 76 percent of housing markets posted increases in home prices that exceeded the wage growth there during that time frame, led by the regions of Merced, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Santa Cruz, California; and Augusta, Georgia. Others include the Detroit, Houston and Miami regions. (To be fair, some of these areas are still considered affordable and experienced massive price drops during the housing bust and recession.)

So easy to envision.

You should probably spend less time in front of the mirror.

OT: teh suck is creeping back into my work life. I spent multiple hours trying to determine if a question in an email rose to the level of an Action Item.

A periodic purge via CTRL + A and DEL works wonders.

If it's important they will ask again. If not it wasn't important.

...or any economic climate that seems likely...

Speaking of climate - it was probably a little chilly after these remarks given the audience.

Ted Cruz: Political prodigy or smug know-it-all? | The Washington Post

Ted Cruz looked out over a sprawling audience of Iowa farmers and agribusiness leaders, people who rely on federal subsidies of ethanol, and the man who would be president stuck it to them.

Above: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) announces his candidacy on Monday at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
“I know you’d like me to say I’m for the renewable fuel standard” - that’s the subsidy of their product - “that'd be the easy thing to do," he said. “But I'm going to tell you the truth.” He’d take away their subsidy, he said with a big smile.

The farmers sat on their hands.

There's been a stack of cases in one of the stores selling at this price for that last couple of weeks. I figured I should buy a couple six packs to try.

Sounds like you need to get into homebrewing. Once you get your technique down look into opening a microbrew. Sell direct to a few local restaurants - feel free to barter beer for food.

On ice right now Sleigh Ryed | Great South Bay Brewery | Bay Shore, NY | BeerAdvocate