I Don’t Understand Wall Street

I’ve been casually (but eagerly) studying the US economic system for over ten years now. In 1999 I convinced a friend to take my place in Seattle for the corner-turning anti-WTO protests (since I couldn’t make it). I’m reading Sorkin’s Too Big to Fail and I’m waiting to get a book copy of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report.

But sometimes I see a story and I just feel baffled. Or at least confuzzled and sad. Take this story from last month: Profit Drop Shakes Up Goldman Sachs. Oh, man. Sounds like bad news, right?

But look at what the article actually says:

Goldman Sachs shares fell 2% Wednesday morning after the investment bank reported a 53% drop in profits in the fourth quarter to $2.39 billon.

Goldman turned a profit during the quarter in question — a healthy profit, by most normal peoples’ standards. (Small business owners! If you made 2.3 billion dollars in three months, wouldn’t you say that was pretty good?) But it’s less than Jim Cramer expected them to make, so it’s time to hide the razor blades over at Forbes! (And every other financial-sector outlet.)

This really points to the fundamental incongruity in our economic system: It’s not about companies being competitive. It’s not about capitalism simply requiring some sort of profit margin. In the USA right now, it’s all about feeding huge trucks full of cash into the gaping mouths of investors and financiers. And all public policy must also suit this goal.

Meanwhile the rest of us work overtime and watch our benefits get slashed.

I Don’t Understand Sarah Palin™

That’s not a typo, people — she’s trademarking her name. Apparently it’s a pretty common thing for celebrities to do, but it’s still weird to me. We’d better use it as much as possible before it’s illegal! Sarah Palin Sarah Palin Sarah Palin!

My Ears Don’t Understand This Ring Tone

My students played for me the mosquito ringtone. It’s really creepy! Try it for yourself and tell me you’re not worried about what this could mean. Once they learn how to talk at that frequency, we’re done. (Although an entire album at that frequency would be a cool idea. Maybe a new take on John Cage?)

Too bad Sarah Palin wouldn’t be able to hear it.

My Brain Doesn’t Understand the Concept of Sleeping In

I woke up this morning at 4:00 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. I told myself I was going to take a nap, but then I started cleaning out my big To Do file on my desk and when I looked up it was 5:00 PM. I’m not sleepy, but I expect I’ll have a headache or just be run-down tomorrow. Fun!

I bet Sarah Palin gets plenty of sleep every night.

The Tea Party < The Muslim Brotherhood (At Least According to the Orthodoxy of Most Pundits I’ve Heard Lately)

Every story I hear these days about Egypt features some self-important white guy wetting his pants about how Egypt is destined to become the next Iran, and anyone who wants to be a part of the next Egyptian government needs to promise to be non-violent. (For the record, The Muslim Brotherhood has on its website a statement of principles which affirms “the right to public gatherings, the invitation to them, and participation in them, all within the limitations of public of public safety, so long as the usage of violence or arms or the threat of doing so is not included.”)

Can you imagine if we applied the same stringent requirements on political organizations in the US? Imagine if pundits went on NPR and FoxNews saying that Tea Party leaders will have to commit themselves to nonviolent action if they want to be a part of the US government. Sarah Palin would strangle a moose when she heard the news!


Speaking of Egypt: Today we have two TimeWasters™, both courtesy of Davey D’s superb hip-hop politics blog. First up is from Moroccan rapper MasterMimz: “Back Down Mubarak”

And we’ve also got one from dead prez’s M1, with Jasiri X (who also did “What if the Tea Party Were Black?“): “We All Shall Be Free”. Yay, Egyptian democracy!

Lyrics here and here.

Today I’m listening to: The BGM Show! (They should do an episode with music about Sarah Palin.)

Sarah Palin Sarah Palin.

1 comment to I Don’t Understand Wall Street

  • Brett Turley

    Yeah, GS got a whooping on the earnings news, the sad part is, they are making a profit using free money the Fed printed for them. It’s ok, they are going to pop up again this week with 14 strong buy reccs and a .62 P/C ratio, and tons of cash going into next week. They’ll get their billions back. As long as helicopters are dropping money from the skies, i’m long financials. Just wait for the fed to so much as fart and everything is coming back to earth. I’m thinking 4th quarter this year. Already seeing inflation rise. Also, Fuck Jim Kramer. Booyah bitch.