Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Evil Empire is starting to form in earnest.


“Google and other advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers—tracking the Web-browsing habits of people who intended for that kind of monitoring to be blocked.”

thebrackpipe – Remember Google’s informal corporate motto, “Don’t be evil.” Maybe it should finally be changed to, “Evil being manifest.”

Koy T – ‎”If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,” Eric Schmidt told CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo in a December 2009 interview.

Matty B – They are clearly scared that Facebook has the advertising edge on them now, and are cutting corners everywhere to try and get it back. Ladies and Gentlemen, your NEW EVIL EMPIRE


With its long-awaited IPO filing, Facebook has revealed the identity of the partner that will define it for years to come

“Last year it letGoldman Sachs (GS) invest and funnel shares to private clients. In each case, Facebook’s ballooning valuation ($15 billion! $50 billion!), rather than the complicated entanglements with its backers, got headlines. Its practice of letting investors such as DST Managing Director Yuri Milner buy additional shares from employees and shareholders, in a so-called secondary transaction, even became standard practice at other hot Valley companies such as Twitter…

Shares in the IPO, which is likely to occur in May, will be divvied up among the best customers of Morgan Stanley (MS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Goldman Sachs, Bank of America (BAC), Barclays Capital (BCS), and Allen & Co., all of which have jockeyed fiercely for a place at the table and a commission on the proceeds. Facebook reportedly had to decide between Morgan Stanley and Goldman for the coveted position of lead underwriter, which is like having to choose between a leech and a tick for a medicinal bloodletting.

In a few months, bankers at those institutions will set the initial trading price and rig it to jump up nicely on the first day of trading—handing their clients a sweet, guaranteed return. Only then will Joe Investor (a designation that includes most of Facebook’s 845 million users) get a chance to buy a piece of the social network, which makes money by selling the ads to accompany users’ photos, status updates, and friend connections. “I’ve always interpreted their values to be about openness and transparency, and there is nothing less transparent than having five bankers set the price of your IPO,” says Zach Nelson, chief executive officer of enterprise software providerNetSuite (N), which ran a Dutch auction IPO in 2007.”

Wow, right here in Menlo Park, CA.  Douche-baggery is seeping into the backyard.

“A northern California hedge-fund manager was charged Friday with making a series of improper trades in Google Inc. and other technology companies based on inside information, the latest in a broad government crackdown on insider trading.

The case against Doug Whitman, of Whitman Capital in Menlo Park, Calif., stems from a wider investigation involving Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam. Mr. Rajaratnam was convicted of insider-trading charges last May and is serving an 11-year prison sentence.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have alleged that Mr. Whitman, 54 years old, made trades based on secret tips he received from Roomy Khan and Karl …”


Government officials are on the verge of an agreement worth as much as $25 billion with five major banks, capping a yearlong push to settle federal and state probes of alleged foreclosure abuses by lenders.

The deal would represent the largest government-industry settlement since a multistate deal with the tobacco industry in 1998.

The agreement covers five banks: Ally Financial Inc., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Wells Fargo & Co. Together, the five handle payments on 55% of all outstanding home loans, or about 27 million mortgages, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.


The bull case for credit unions

(originally posted on OCTOBER 07, 2011 at the Motley Fool.  Click here to read from source.)

Are there any credit unions that are publicly traded?  All of these new checking fees are driving people out of big banks, and credit unions have better interest rates.  They are also less regulated, so it is easier for them to lend.  A lot of people are leaving big banks and dont care if the credit unions are fdic insured because they think all of the big banks will collapse and dont really understand FDIC insurance.  if the big banks are making the credit unions trade at low p/b ratios, I think they may be a steal, especially because 1) they dont hold a lot of european debt like the big banks do 2) the us economy is technically still growing

Am I missing anything, or is this a very bullish combination?  I am not a credit union expert but they seem to be gaining market share and dont have the same problems as the big guys….could be an excellent opportunity.

Comment:  I’ve been “bullish” on credit unions for years.  But once you join a credit union you become a “shareholder”, in that the earnings are paid back to you in the form of “dividends” on your account balances. You are also rewarded with lower interest rates and less fees.  No need to hire a fancy broker to reap those benefits.

Comment:  Dude, I’ve been with my Credit Union for 22 yrs (God, I’m getting old)

It’s Awesome, they treat me great. My CC rate through them is like 9.5%. And if I ever needed a loan they would be more then willing to work with me unlike the big banks.And they don’t nickel and dime me with fees

So if you want to invest in a Credit Union just open up an account. Probably one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

“The irony is that had the accident occurred in Canada, her family would not be having to come up with more than half a million dollars to pay for her care,” wrote Potter, an analyst for the Center for Public Integrity. “Her care would have been covered because, unlike the U.S., Canada has a system of universal coverage.”

Huffington Post article here

Kerstin Johnsson commented:  I find this very odd. If I need health care while abroad, my private insurance covers the costs regardless where in the world I am. So, if the Canadian government is officially every Canadian’s health care provider, why then do they not cover citizens abroad in the same way? My guess — it would be far too expensive. This is yet another reason why universal health care sucks for all involved!

Of course, the liberal media ignores this significant down side to universal health care (as well as many others), opting instead to turn it into a story bemoaning the lack of universal health care in the US. Ironic indeed.

Koy T commented:  If you can afford health care, access in the US is tops. I can’t say our outcomes are the best in the world. Burke’s vertebral artery injury is a devastating condition that would likely have left her a combination of paralyzed, blind, or speechless. Potter seems to think her care would have been free. The internal cost would have been not as much as here but a nine day stay in the ICU with neurosurgical care as well as interventional neuroradiology care would have driven the cost well over 100000. Moreover, should a public good such as universal health care be held responsible for a person engaged in risky behavior? Universal health care is generally a good thing, but the US is unable to prevent gaming the system which is one of the reasons why Canada has clamped down on immigration of parents and older relatives of Canadian residents. They drive up costs without increasing tax receipts. Canadians overseas carry their own insurance for cost reasons. No government is willing to pay for health care for nonrevenue generating citizens. I think Potter wishes to make amends for his past career as an insurance executive. Potter should pick a new line of work.

Jack F. Stuart II commented:  Thanks, Andrew, for the article highlighting the worldview of the whacked. As for the clown act that authored it, he is totally out of touch with reality. The role of incentives in the marketplace — yes, even [actually, especially] the healthcare marketplace — cannot be understated. Whether Potter knows it or not, he is of a mind with the “99%, Occupy-the-Planet” crowd: he wants something for nothing. Yet another reason the U.S. is $15+ trillion in debt and counting …

You think Bay Area housing prices are crazy now… just wait my friends… just wait. That 28 year old kid who has been selling online advertising for the last 6 years is going to buy your 3 million house, tear it down, and build a 10 million house… and that’s just for her butler to live in.

See the WSJ article by clicking here.

thebrackpipe commented:  Am I jealous? You better believe it. All I do is help market and sell novel, minimally invasive cardiac devices that extend life and improve quality of life. FB’s response – “We feel for you, Andrew. How about a free version of Farmville Plus? It really unlocks the power of FB.”

Kerstin Johnsson commented:  It already started happening last spring, and by fall, every house I looked at sold for ALL cash. Argh!
thebrackpipe commented:  Damn… why couldn’t I have just sold advertising!!! Why, why!!!
Jessica Shambora commented:  I like that you said “her”
Eliot Hodges commented:  Apparently a lot of hedge funds have bought up a lot of properties in SOMA in anticipation of the IPO.
Nick Damiano commented:  As a fellow medical device guy, I feel your pain. The world doesn’t value what we do as much as what, say, a Facebook advertising associate or an investment banker does. Hell, the world values me less now than it did when I was pushing subprime mortgages on people 5 years ago. Best case for people like us is that our company will sell out to a Medtronic or the like for 1/100 of Facebook’s value. But hey, at least you can go home every night to the two room pool house you’re renting behind that Facebook employee’s $10 million mansion feeling good about the work you’re doing. Isn’t that worth it?
thebrackpipe commented:  It is absolutely worth it. As much as I’ll complain about this FB IPO, I wouldn’t trade working in the healthcare field. Speaking of… back to saving lives : )
Kerstin Johnsson commented:  Ummm, can I just note that as a marketing/sales guy, you’re still making significantly more than most of those engineers that actually INVENTED and DEVELOPED that life-saving device… Just sayin’… Life’s a lot more fair to “your kind” than mine. :-\
Jessica Shambora commented:  Hey guys, just want to note here that Facebook has changed a lot of people’s lives and the only way we can keep doing that is by having a business model that supports the platform. Thanks to capitalism, that happens to be advertising. So if you want to be sour, complain about that.
Koy T commented:  Medicine is a commodity, but that Farmville. Farmville will rule the world! Sweet if I could only capture my lost sheep. :p
thebrackpipe commented:  I’m sour about capitalism… wait… no… I’m not… I just want to live where I work. I don’t want to commute from San Ramon!
Koy T:  Don’t be bitter. Just start a revolution in some banana republic.