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Mark Bern, CFA  

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  • Another Increase for the U.S. Debt Ceiling [View article]
    OG - Don't you remember that BO's press people announced that they were able to successfully manage the media during the campaign and are attempting to continue to do so as part of the Administration?

    This type of article does not support the Administration's agenda or build consumer confidence. So why would they want anybody to read it? They don't. And the MSM is being accommodating.
    Dec 11, 2009. 04:21 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BofA's Dismal Mortgage-Modification Rate [View article]
    I am proud to have been one of that huge number of 98. We modified our loan (formerly with Countrywide) late last year. We weren't about to lose our house, but we did have one of those flexible payment option mortgages that they really needed to modify.

    I'm glad I could help be a part of such a successful program! (I hope everyone understands the concept of sarcasm)
    Dec 11, 2009. 03:56 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • China's Crony Capitalism [View article]
    The ruling elite in the U.S. seem to want to head in a similar direction, IMHO. They would like nothing better than to redistribute the wealth of their opposition to increase their control and power. If you control most of the wealth and the media, elected positions are your for the taking and you control the government. It appears to me that we are taking longer strides toward becoming more like China than the Chinese becoming more like us. If we ever meet in the middle, it's not likely to be the middle.
    Dec 11, 2009. 03:51 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Printing Our Way to a Jobs Recovery? [View article]
    Can't agree more! My Kudos to the author. Our President is bringing about change, but not the change he envisioned. I expect that the result of all his hard words (I haven't seen much real work yet) will be a disenchantment with the Democratic Party for the next decade or more. The change we really need is one that brings accountability and real transparency to our government and the Fed.
    Dec 11, 2009. 03:12 PM | 14 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More Surprisingly Good News for Retail Sales [View article]
    The trend in retail sales does appear to be up. However, if the sampling methodology changed recently (as indicated by berated above) there is little doubt that the results will improve in a way that is a net positive for those conducting the survey. Survey results can be manipulated very easily by changing sampling techniques and interpretative models.

    If, for instance, the group performing the surveys decides that they are including too many inputs from a group that tends to not support an increasing trend, they can change what groups get surveyed to get better results. The assumptions in the interpretive models may also weight certain results more than others. Change the weighting assumptions and you can make improvements also.

    Whenever someone has a motive to manipulate, the chances are much higher that they will. If anyone has a motive, the retail trade association has one. They need everyone to think things are getting better so that perceptions will improve and people will consume more. Their paying members rely on them to support their cause.
    Dec 11, 2009. 01:12 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu News Concentrator (December 4 - December 11) [View instapost]
    Isn't it great to have folks who think in the technical realm? I know how to check cookies, clear them, and such, but I never would have thought of doing it. HTL and DM (I hope you don't mind the abbreviation, Dialectical) thank you both for your contributions along those lines. They have helped me (probably all of us) in the past and I'm sure you're going to come in useful many more times in the future.

    DM - I hope you'll hang around with us. You have a great sense of humor!
    Dec 11, 2009. 12:59 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu News Concentrator (December 4 - December 11) [View instapost]
    Now I owe another apology. I wrote the first two comments, went away, and then decided to come back, hitting the back button. My comments weren't there, so I thought I should try to rewrite them. Now I see I've duplicated myself. Please ignore my previous two comments and do not rate them. I am giving myself a thumbs down on the one that has already received a thumbs up just to even things out. Hopefully, such integrity won't be lost on the Trolls. It is good to note that others in the group have done similar things when they thought they had received undeserved good ratings.
    Dec 11, 2009. 12:19 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu News Concentrator (December 4 - December 11) [View instapost]
    TB - I am the one who brought this whole thing up in the first place. I really didn't expect it to get so inflamed. But I didn't want to bring it up in a Chat because I suspected that the Troll, whoever it was, was doing most of their damage there. I just noticed something strange and was wondering whether others had noticed it too.

    So, if anyone is to blame for the mess, it would be me. My apologies to all, especially User.


    On Dec 11 10:03 AM tripleblack wrote:

    > User, I am truly sorry that I helped pull this mess into your neatly
    > organized and valuable Concentrator!
    >
    > Sometimes I act as though I was raised in a barn!
    Dec 11, 2009. 12:09 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu News Concentrator (December 4 - December 11) [View instapost]
    Mr. Engle,

    I, for one, never give myself thumbs up. I Don't believe that others in this group do either. I suspect that the comment you referred to by Maya was one made out of frustration and that he is not really likely to act out on his statement. I rate comments on their quality, not by whether I agree with them or not. I try to make substantive comments wherever I go. I suggest that you reconsider your intentions because you could find yourself in a one against many situation. None of us want such a situation. But since we age being methodically attacked by someone, it would be only natural to go on the defensive. Put yourself in our positions and please reconsider.


    On Dec 11 07:59 AM Bill Engle wrote:

    > I read your comment, and didn't like it, or the fact that your buddies
    > are voting themselves up multiple times on these chat strings. So
    > you have a new voter. Previously I have never voted a thumbs down
    > on your comments, so take note.
    Dec 11, 2009. 12:07 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu News Concentrator (December 4 - December 11) [View instapost]
    Mr. Engle,

    Just to be very clear. I do not give myself thumbs up. I don't expect anyone else, including Maya, is in the habit of doing so either. I suspect his comment was one made out of frustration. Please reconsider your statement because you could be positioning yourself as one against many. I always strive to make meaningful comments wherever I go and rate other comments based upon quality.


    On Dec 11 07:59 AM Bill Engle wrote:

    > I read your comment, and didn't like it, or the fact that your buddies
    > are voting themselves up multiple times on these chat strings. So
    > you have a new voter. Previously I have never voted a thumbs down
    > on your comments, so take note.
    Dec 11, 2009. 11:58 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu News Concentrator (December 4 - December 11) [View instapost]
    TB - The fault really lies with me in bringing this mess in here. I just noticed something funny was going on and asked a question as to whether anyone else had noticed it too. I didn't mean for things to get so far out of hand.

    But I did not want to bring it up in one of the Chats because I figured that was where the Troll was doing the most damage.
    Dec 11, 2009. 11:54 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu News Concentrator (December 4 - December 11) [View instapost]
    I just did a quick check and counted the thumbs on my first (most recent page) of comments: 58 up, 6 down. Yet I am down by about 30 in the same time. This is so strange. Well, maybe they did take down one of my better comments. Who knows. I guess I shouldn't sweat the small stuff.
    Dec 10, 2009. 01:26 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retail Sales [View instapost]
    Since we have seen a lot of "stick saves" this year in stocks, it should come as no surprise that retail would give us a "hat trick."

    Seriously, though, I just have to wonder why the big spike up from Black Friday isn't showing. If I read the chart correctly, Nov 27th is included int the graph and doesn't look any better than the previous weeks. Shouldn't this be telling us something about the holiday season retail season? If so, the hat has a higher probability of forming than one would expect it to have at this time of year. Black Friday is supposed to be the biggest day of the year in retail. According to this graph, it was just another day.
    Dec 10, 2009. 01:23 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu News Concentrator (December 4 - December 11) [View instapost]
    While we're on the subject, I have noticed that someone is consistently knocking my score down. I normally don't notice, but I have been busy elsewhere for the last week or two and only commenting occasionally, but I do check to see where everybody in the group is at least once a week and lately my score is going down. This is happening even though I have gotten many more thumbs up than thumbs down on my recent comments.

    I suspect that there is one of two things going on:

    1) Someone is methodically going into my old comments and giving me thumbs down on a regular basis (It's happening every day now that I have noticed and have started keeping track).
    2) Someone is consistently hitting the Report abuse button on some of my old comments to make them get deleted.

    Has anyone else noticed such action? I guess a third possibility is that SA Editors are deleting some of my older comments on a regular basis. I just don't have time to go through and track them all. But if someone deletes one of my high rated comments, I'll notice. I don't have many with 50 or more thumbs up, but there are a few. I guess I just put out some bait, didn't I?
    Dec 10, 2009. 12:58 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Swine Flu News Concentrator (December 4 - December 11) [View instapost]
    Am I considered a Troll? Is that the point of the comment closely following mine?


    On Dec 09 06:56 PM robert.b.ferguson wrote:

    > Seems like our troll has returned. Hi Troll.
    Dec 10, 2009. 12:37 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
COMMENTS STATS
5,138 Comments
13,737 Likes