New York City night

It’s Been 13 Years…

It has been 13 years since the September 11 attacks. I have many thoughts, but few words to share. I was in fourth grade at the time and I hardly understood the magnitude of what was happening. My teacher did have a TV in the room and I vividly recall seeing when the second tower was hit. I went to school in Dallas. I have no story to share. I was not there. I had no family in New York. It would be years before I fully understood just how significant the consequences were. Still, I’ll never forget that day. As young as I was, 9/11 had a profound effect on me. Every year on 9/11 I spend a few hours alone, reflecting on my life, the world, what happened in the past, what might happen in the future, and what it all means.

I have read many of the first hand accounts of what happened and recollections from people thousands of miles from New York. Below are two accounts of 9/11 that I made a point of reading and thinking about today. I think both are worth reading if you can make time for it. As I said, I have no story to tell, I can only point you to the stories of others.

Reading 9/11/2014



  • I can’t believe France is not going to make its deficit target this year. I mean, it would have taken math or some other magic to figure anticipate this problem. (BBC)
  • Two articles by Barry Ritholtz that are worth reading. First, why didn’t bankers go to jail (Bloomberg View). Second, who has to pay for their crimes (Bloomberg View).
  • Josh Brown has a great chart showing that income fell for the bottom 80% of earners. (The Reformed Broker)
  • Who controls interest rates. (Pragmatic Capitalism)


  • Ken White “…when journalists don’t take even minimal steps to find out what the law actually is, they are promoting civic ignorance.” Umm…with a rare exception, I think journalists would rather let the world burn than try to understand whatever they’re reporting on. There’s a reason I rarely read mainstream financial news and I tend to read finance blogs instead. After reading Ken’s blog, I stopped reading mainstream legal news. Anyway, here’s the link. (Popehat)
  • I hadn’t heard about the Wisconsin “John Doe” case. Worth looking into. (Overlawyered) also (Cato)

That’s all so far today. Suggest anything you think is worth reading in the comments.


Reading – 9/5/2014

Here’s what I’m reading this morning.



  • Socks are not optional in court, I’m not sure I really want to know why this sort of thing is important in court. After reading enough legal blogs I’m almost ready to believe it has to do with destroying our civil liberties. However, crazy seems to fit in better in this case. (Lowering the Bar)
  • No jokes about this one. Corruption in the Department of Justice. (Overlawyered)
  • Same-sex marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin have now been stuck down. It’s good to hear some good news for a change. (SCOTUSblog)
  • Umm….how did they not see this coming? Hint, being subtle is usually better when you are breaking the law. (FindLaw – Legally Weird)


1. Yes, I did make that link much larger than the others. It's my blog.
2. In my model, fractional job gains/losses are incredibly important because I hate working in discrete spaces.
There is no signal in the noise.

Reading – 9/3/2014

Still settling in, so I haven’t had time to write anything, but here are some links. I hope to get back to writing more of my content by the end of the week.


  • Another great warning sign. (Lowering the Bar)
  • Definitely make a point of reading Walter Olson’s post at Overlawyered on police unions and the use of excessive force. I’d also suggest following the links in his post for further details on this important issue. (Overlawyered)
  • Quick! What should a company do to respond to online criticism? Five seconds! Sorry, forging a court order demanding critical posts be taken down is not the correct answer (and an additional 50 point penalty for being sleazy telemarketers). What’s that? You didn’t do it? Well, I guess it was one of your endearing fans. (Popehat)
  • Does your car look like a cop car? Well, you may be arrested for impersonating a cop. Is that legal? I have absolutely no idea, but I can say that this guy was way too obsessed with the Transformers movies. (FindLaw – Legally Weird)


  • Cullen Roche on why being wrong in just about every single way, year after year, does not cause people to stop listening to you. (Pragmatic Capitalism)
  • You MUST read Professor Damodaran’s post providing a roadmap for disrupting the education business. I particularly like this statement: “Most of the entrepreneurs who have tried to disrupt the system have either been technology people, who don’t quite understand what the education business.” (Musings on Markets)
  • Is it too late to change my major? I didn’t know I could be hired as a “Pet Famous Politician” and earn $3.4+ million. I suppose this takes the sting out of losing the primary for Eric Cantor. (The Epicurean Dealmaker)
  • Via Josh Brown at The Reformed Broker. Is CNBC on the path of discovery? I mean, it almost sounds like they are saying that investors don’t agree on what the market is going to do in the future. Sit down if you need to, I know that comes as a shock. I love the mindless devotion to what hedge funds are doing as if they always get it right. Gasp! Hedge funds are unsure about the future, we’re doomed!1 (The Reformed Broker)

1. It is entirely possible that I have become far too cynical, but I doubt it.



Reading 8/29/2014 – End Of The World?

Here are the big stories of the day/week/month from the president’s suit to the (maybe) start of WWIII.

International Politics



  • In case you find yourself trying to donate a skull to Goodwill, here are a few tips. (Lowering the Bar)
  • Proof that you can be scum without working in finance, follow the link to the Time article and the past coverage at Overlawyered. (Overlawyered)
  • Ken White is writing about free speech and the Streisand effect. I feel like he touched on those topics once or twice in the past. (Popehat)


1. Translated from dog-whistle language: Russia invaded Ukraine.
2. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide what the word "significant" means in this context. Please limit your answer to one blue book.

Reading – 8/25/2014

  • It appears that the alleged “best and brightest” students are going for tech rather than finance. Not all that surprising, to be honest. I don’t see this as much of a loss for the financial industry. Going to Harvard doesn’t mean that you are automatically the best and in my experience it had a stronger correlation with being a pompous asshole than being intelligent. (The Epicurean Dealmaker)
  • Dear math haters, math is important. (Bloomberg View – Barry Ritholtz)
  • Disclaimer: I am not responsible for anything that happens because you click on the following link to an article about a funny warning sign. (Overlawyered)
  • Make sure there is no ironic link between your name and your crime. (Lowering the Bar)
  • Answers to life’s deepest questions at XKCD. Aiming infinitely strong lasers in random directions. I’ll try to get a grant. (XKCD)
  • Finally, can you trust the media to get anything right? Hahaha! Of course not. At least, not when it comes to finance or law. (Popehat)

That’s all I have time for today (see busy).


So, with the semester about to start, it’s going to be hard for me to make regular updates. This is for the benefit of the 3 or so regular readers I have so far.

P.S. I’ll try to post when I can, but it will be irregular for a while.

A few more Wednesday Reads – 8/20/2014

I had more free time than I expected today and having nothing better to do, got a lot more reading in. Here are the highlights.

  • Writing code can be a pain, so it is often tempting to take shortcuts. Here’s a tip, when you are creating a risk model for complicated derivative trades, don’t be lazy when writing the code. It could only cost $2 billion or so (see London Whale)….(The Importance of Excel – The Baseline Scenario)
  • Shocking, you mean to tell me that a phone that you carry everywhere, that tracks your location at all times, can “present anonymity risk.” I’m in total disbelief. But it’s not like any of the tech companies out there would actually do something like that. You know, invade your privacy so they can market crap too you. They’re the good guys, unlike Wall Street. Trust is an interesting concept. (BBC)
  • I don’t like Rick Perry, but I suppose we should be somewhat skeptical of his indictment. Given that I call out people for taking stands on finance topics they don’t have a clue about, I’ll defer to those who know about legal issues on this topic. (Vox)
  • Today’s lesson “stock prices at all-time highs \neq imminent crash.” At some point, you figure out that there is no such thing as predicting the future, but that will not stop anyone from guessing. That’s for the casino people. (A Wealth of Common Sense)
  • Apple is again trading near its all-time high price, you shouldn’t give a damn. Really, another lesson I learned really quickly was to never let yourself get wrapped up in a stock’s narrative. Last time it was “Apple is so innovative and will always be able to disrupt the industry and and and and…” I don’t follow Apple, I am not too into their products. Sure, the quality is nice, but I don’t think it’s worth the price they want. In any case, if you love Apple’s product, do yourself a favor and stay the hell away from their stock unless you can put your emotions aside. (Dan Nathan’s Tumblr, I found the link on Abnormal Returns. Lot’s of finance blogs provide links to interesting articles on most days and I’m trying to get in the habit. If you’re looking for more to read, I strongly recommend Abnormal Returns. It is daily reading for me, I don’t know how Tadas Viskanta is able to find that many interesting articles every day.)
  • Also, Barry Ritholtz has posted an interesting chart showing asset class returns from 2005 to now. There are a lot of interesting conclusions we can draw from the chart. You have 2 hours, please write all answers in one blue book. No partial credit. (Bloomberg View – Barry Ritholtz)
  • This is a bit more technical, but worth reading. Cullen Roche’s comments on a global investment portfolio. (Pragmatic Capitalism) Also, see his post about the contradictions of saying you use a totally passive investing strategy.
  • The final article related to finance is by Josh Brown. I really can’t do any better than the title of his post. (“How can you have euphoria when nobody gives a sh*t?” – The Reformed Broker)
  • I have a hard time finding words on the topic of James Foley’s murder. It’s hard to accept that it’s real. Maybe it’s because I’m young, I don’t know. I expect most anyone reading this has already seen several pieces on this topic, but I’ll link to a few anyway. (Vox – a town in Syria’s tribute) (BBC – Obama’s statements on the subject) My sincere sympathy to his friends and family.

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