Now Obamacare is Crippling…Family Planning?

CondomsCalifornia has very generous funding for family planning
clinics
, serving people under 200 percent of the federal
poverty level. California also has really crappy funding for
Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income families
and children; the state recently cut reimbursement rates to

providers
and
pharmacies
by ten percent. That’s a bit of a problem, as the
Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—pushes
more and more people toward Medicaid
. In particular, it’s a
problem for California’s family planning clinics, which are
expected to start seeking reimbursement from Medicaid instead of
from the old Family PACT program.

According to
Kaiser Health News
:

For the last 15 years, such clinics have been paid through a
robust state program called the Family Planning Access Care and
Treatment Program, or Family
PACT
. It is the first and largest program of its kind, covering
the cost of family planning services for nearly 2 million uninsured
women and men, with no cap on spending. Nearly 60 per cent of
Planned Parenthood’s income is from the program. But this year, its
revenue streams are going to start shifting dramatically: 84 per
cent of the clinic’s patients became eligible for Medicaid, or
Medi-Cal as it is known in California, on Jan. 1, because of the
expansion of care for the poor under the federal health care
reform.

Quoting Kathy Kneer, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood
Affiliates of California, the article says “clinics will lose money
on every Medicaid patient.”

Isn’t there an old joke about losing money on every sale and
making it up in volume? Yeah, it’s a bit of a dark joke.

Physicians in general already face this problem. When the latest
Med-Cal rate cut was announced, Bloomberg
pointed out
that a gynecologist in Folsom, California was paid
$95 to $200 for pelvic exams by private insurance, but $25 by the
state plan even before the ten percent haircut. As a
result, just 57 percent of California physicians accepted new
Medi-Cal patients in 2011, which was the second-lowest rate after
New Jersey. That rate is unlikely to rise with the lower
reimbursements, even as 1.1 million Californians were expected to
join the Medi-Cal roles as part of the Obamacare grand plan.

California Healthline
quoted
Jon Roth, CEO of the California Pharmacists’
Association, saying, “The margin in drug products is roughly two
percent to four percent. If you’re looking at a 10 percent
reduction, you’re immediately upside down and dispensing medication
at a loss.”

The solution? Many pharmacies say they won’t provide medications
on which they take a big loss. Pharmacies in other states have

flat-out refused Medicaid patients
, so this shouldn’t come as a
surprise.

California’s Family PACT program may well have been too generous
to begin with—especially in a state with long-term financial
difficulties that it’s still
just papering over
. But at least that scheme paid for services
rendered. That stands in stark contrast to the Affordable Care
Act’s promise of expanded services which governments are already
unable to afford to an ever-widening pool of recipients who are
bound to be disappointed.

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As China Orders Its Smaller Banks To Load Up On Cash, Is The Biggest Ever “Unlimited QE” About To Be Unleashed?

The Chinese new year may be over which following a last minute bailout of its insolvent Credit Equals Gold Trust product was largely uneventful, but already concerns about domestic liquidity are once again rising to the surface following reports that China’s banking regulator ordered some of the nation’s smaller lenders to set aside more funds to avoid a cash shortfall, which as Bloomberg notes signal rising concern that defaults may climb.

Specifically, “China Banking Regulatory Commission branches asked some city commercial banks and rural lenders to strengthen liquidity management this year, the people said, asking not to be named as the matter is confidential. Different requirements are being instituted by province, such as quarterly stress tests, after CBRC studies last year showed increasing risks at those lenders, the people said.”

“Smaller banks are the weakest link of China’s financial system because their lack of a stable deposit base would force them to seek more expensive funding and offer more risky loans,” said Liu Jun, a Wuhan-based analyst at Changjiang Securities Co. “They will be hardest hit when borrowing costs are elevated and the economy slows.”

The CBRC action was to be expected in the aftermath of news throughout last year, confirming that China’s bad debt demons will soon be in need of a violent exorcism: “The requirements add to steps taken to protect against soured loans weighing on China’s economy, which included speeding up bad-loan writeoffs and limiting local government debt sales.

Recall that as we reported previously in Big Trouble In Massive China, total losses from bad debt discharges could rise to a mind-boggling $3 trillion which would once and for all settle any debate about just how hard or soft China’s “landing” (or is that lending?) would be: “The nation might face credit losses of as much as $3 trillion as defaults ensue from the expansion of the past four years, particularly by non-bank lenders such as trusts, exceeding that seen prior to other credit crises, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimated in August.”

It has gotten so bad that even China has started releasing official data confirming a very disturbing trendline -one of soaring NPLs at China listed banks.

Obviously, the numbers indicated in the chart above are merely a fraction of the real state of bad loans permeating the country’s financial system. One needs to merely look at the ridiculous amount of total corporate debt as a % of GDP in China – highest in the entire world – to know that this particular fable will not have a happy ending:

 

Which is why China is rushing to proactively prepare the system to have buffers in advance of what may be a worst case scenario:

Some of the banks were asked by their local CBRC branches to set aside reserves to ensure cash supply for 30- to 45-day periods, the people said, declining to identify the names of the banks. Press officers at the CBRC’s headquarters in Beijing didn’t return three calls seeking comment.

 

China’s money markets are playing a greater role in credit allocation and borrowing costs as the central bank has moved to liberalize interest rates and make the economy less reliant on banks for funding. The PBOC abolished controls on bank lending rates in July and the Communist Party said in November it wanted markets to play a “decisive” role in pricing capital.

 

“When the valve of liquidity starts to tame and curb excessive credit expansion, money-market rates, or the cost of liquidity, will reflect that,” the central bank said in a Feb. 8 report. “The market needs to tolerate reasonable rate changes so that rates can be effective in allocating resources and modifying the behavior of market players.”

 

One or two small Chinese banks may fail this year as they get about 80 percent of their funding from interbank markets and higher-cost deposits in savings vehicles known as wealth management products, Fang Xinghai, a bureau director at the Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, said in November. The group is the highest-level agency within the Communist Party for financial and economic policies.

Of course, the real panic will commence once the financial turmoiling shifts from the small banks to the big ones: “China’s five biggest state-owned banks and 12 national lenders controlled more than 60 percent of the nation’s 148 trillion yuan of banking assets at the end of 2013, according to CBRC data. Other financial institutions including 144 city commercial lenders, 337 rural banks and more than 1,900 rural cooperatives owned the rest.”

Talk about “Too Big To Fail.”

Incidentally, the topic of China’s inevitable financial crisis, and the open question of how it will subsequently bail out its banks is quite pertinent in a world in which Moral Hazard is the only play left. Conveniently, in his latest letter to clients, 13D’s Kiril Sokoloff has this to say:

Will the PBOC’s Short-term Lending Facility (SLF) evolve into China’s version of QE? While investor attention has been fixated on China’s deteriorating PMI reports and fears of a widening credit crisis, China’s central bank is operating behind the scenes to prevent a wide-scale financial panic. On Monday, January 20th, 2014, when the Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP, CNY 2,033) fell below 2,000 on its way to a six-month low and interest rates jumped, the central bank intervened by adding over 255 billion yuan ($42 billion) to the financial system. In addition to a regular 75 billion yuan of 7-day reverse repos, the central bank  provided supplemental liquidity amounting to 180 billion yuan of 21-day reverse repos, which was seen as an obvious attempt to alleviate liquidity shortages during the Chinese New Year. However, it is worth noting that this was the PBOC’s first use of 21-day contracts since 2005, according to Bloomberg. Small and medium-sized banks were major beneficiaries of this SLF, as the PBOC allowed such institutions in ten provinces to tap its SLF for the first time on a trial basis. A 120 billion yuan quota has been set aside for the trial SLF, according to two local traders.

The central bank also said it will inject further cash into the banking system at regularly-scheduled open market operations. This is a very rare occurrence, as it is almost unprecedented for the central bank to openly declare its intention to inject or withdraw funds at regularly-scheduled open market operations. Usually, these operations only come to light after the fact.

 

The SLF was created as a brand new monetary tool for the central bank in early 2013 and was designed to enable commercial banks to borrow from the central bank for one to three months. Since its creation, however, the SLF program has been used with increasing frequency by the central bank.

The latest SLF is remarkable for two reasons: First, as mentioned earlier, this SLF was expanded to allow provincial-level small- and medium-sized banks, for the first time, to tap liquidity from the central bank.  As local financial institutions are usually both the major issuers and holders of local government debt, the expansion of the SLF to include local financial institutions opens a new channel for liquidity to flow from the central bank to local governments. This may suggest that the central bank, which is now on high alert for systemic risk, is willing to share some of the burden of local government, though on a very selective and non-regular basis.

 

The second key reason is embodied in the following central bank announcement: “[we will] explore the function of the SLF in setting the upper band of the market interest rates.” In other words, in the event that interest rates spike higher due to a systemic crisis, the central bank can intervene, via the SLF, to bring rates back down if it so desires. In addition, the PBOC did not disclose any set cap on the SLF, implying that unlimited liquidity could be provided as long as the market’s rate spike exceeds the bands set by the PBOC.

 

 

Most important, the SLF appears to represent the PBOC’s strategy to avert China’s widely-publicized local government debt and banking-system problems. It is  worth noting that even though local government debt amounts to 30% of GDP and is growing at an alarming rate, China’s central government is relatively underleveraged, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of only 23%, which is significantly lower than the emerging-market average. Therefore, Beijing has considerable unused borrowing capacity to share some of the debt burden taken on by local governments, which would have the additional positive impact of lowering borrowing costs for those governments.

In other words, the PBOC is laying the groundwork for what developed markets would call an open-ended liquidity injection which can be use to bail out one and all banks on an a la carte basis. Or, in the parlance of our times, the biggest QE bazooka of all because with total banking assets of nearly $25 trillion, said bazooka better be ready to fire at a moment’s notice.

 

The only question is when will the market force China’s central planners to demonstrate that unlike Paulson’s bazooks, the one in Beijing is not a dud…


    



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As China Orders Its Smaller Banks To Load Up On Cash, Is The Biggest Ever "Unlimited QE" About To Be Unleashed?

The Chinese new year may be over which following a last minute bailout of its insolvent Credit Equals Gold Trust product was largely uneventful, but already concerns about domestic liquidity are once again rising to the surface following reports that China’s banking regulator ordered some of the nation’s smaller lenders to set aside more funds to avoid a cash shortfall, which as Bloomberg notes signal rising concern that defaults may climb.

Specifically, “China Banking Regulatory Commission branches asked some city commercial banks and rural lenders to strengthen liquidity management this year, the people said, asking not to be named as the matter is confidential. Different requirements are being instituted by province, such as quarterly stress tests, after CBRC studies last year showed increasing risks at those lenders, the people said.”

“Smaller banks are the weakest link of China’s financial system because their lack of a stable deposit base would force them to seek more expensive funding and offer more risky loans,” said Liu Jun, a Wuhan-based analyst at Changjiang Securities Co. “They will be hardest hit when borrowing costs are elevated and the economy slows.”

The CBRC action was to be expected in the aftermath of news throughout last year, confirming that China’s bad debt demons will soon be in need of a violent exorcism: “The requirements add to steps taken to protect against soured loans weighing on China’s economy, which included speeding up bad-loan writeoffs and limiting local government debt sales.

Recall that as we reported previously in Big Trouble In Massive China, total losses from bad debt discharges could rise to a mind-boggling $3 trillion which would once and for all settle any debate about just how hard or soft China’s “landing” (or is that lending?) would be: “The nation might face credit losses of as much as $3 trillion as defaults ensue from the expansion of the past four years, particularly by non-bank lenders such as trusts, exceeding that seen prior to other credit crises, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimated in August.”

It has gotten so bad that even China has started releasing official data confirming a very disturbing trendline -one of soaring NPLs at China listed banks.

Obviously, the numbers indicated in the chart above are merely a fraction of the real state of bad loans permeating the country’s financial system. One needs to merely look at the ridiculous amount of total corporate debt as a % of GDP in China – highest in the entire world – to know that this particular fable will not have a happy ending:

 

Which is why China is rushing to proactively prepare the system to have buffers in advance of what may be a worst case scenario:

Some of the banks were asked by their local CBRC branches to set aside reserves to ensure cash supply for 30- to 45-day periods, the people said, declining to identify the names of the banks. Press officers at the CBRC’s headquarters in Beijing didn’t return three calls seeking comment.

 

China’s money markets are playing a greater role in credit allocation and borrowing costs as the central bank has moved to liberalize interest rates and make the economy less reliant on banks for funding. The PBOC abolished controls on bank lending rates in July and the Communist Party said in November it wanted markets to play a “decisive” role in pricing capital.

 

“When the valve of liquidity starts to tame and curb excessive credit expansion, money-market rates, or the cost of liquidity, will reflect that,” the central bank said in a Feb. 8 report. “The market needs to tolerate reasonable rate changes so that rates can be effective in allocating resources and modifying the behavior of market players.”

 

One or two small Chinese banks may fail this year as they get about 80 percent of their funding from interbank markets and higher-cost deposits in savings vehicles known as wealth management products, Fang Xinghai, a bureau director at the Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, said in November. The group is the highest-level agency within the Communist Party for financial and economic policies.

Of course, the real panic will commence once the financial turmoiling shifts from the small banks to the big ones: “China’s five biggest state-owned banks and 12 national lenders controlled more than 60 percent of the nation’s 148 trillion yuan of banking assets at the end of 2013, according to CBRC data. Other financial institutions including 144 city commercial lenders, 337 rural banks and more than 1,900 rural cooperatives owned the rest.”

Talk about “Too Big To Fail.”

Incidentally, the topic of China’s inevitable financial crisis, and the open question of how it will subsequently bail out its banks is quite pertinent in a world in which Moral Hazard is the only play left. Conveniently, in his latest letter to clients, 13D’s Kiril Sokoloff has this to say:

Will the PBOC’s Short-term Lending Facility (SLF) evolve into China’s version of QE? While investor attention has been fixated on China’s deteriorating PMI reports and fears of a widening credit crisis, China’s central bank is operating behind the scenes to prevent a wide-scale financial panic. On Monday, January 20th, 2014, when the Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP, CNY 2,033) fell below 2,000 on its way to a six-month low and interest rates jumped, the central bank intervened by adding over 255 billion yuan ($42 billion) to the financial system. In addition to a regular 75 billion yuan of 7-day reverse repos, the central bank  provided supplemental liquidity amounting to 180 billion yuan of 21-day reverse repos, which was seen as an obvious attempt to alleviate liquidity shortages during the Chinese New Year. However, it is worth noting that this was the PBOC’s first use of 21-day contracts since 2005, according to Bloomberg. Small and medium-sized banks were major beneficiaries of this SLF, as the PBOC allowed such institutions in ten provinces to tap its SLF for the first time on a trial basis. A 120 billion yuan quota has been set aside for the trial SLF, according to two local traders.

The central bank also said it will inject further cash into the banking system at regularly-scheduled open market operations. This is a very rare occurrence, as it is almost unprecedented for the central bank to openly declare its intention to inject or withdraw funds at regularly-scheduled open market operations. Usually, these operations only come to light after the fact.

 

The SLF was created as a brand new monetary tool for the central bank in early 2013 and was designed to enable commercial banks to borrow from the central bank for one to three months. Since its creation, however, the SLF program has been used with increasing frequency by the central bank.

The latest SLF is remarkable for two reasons: First, as mentioned earlier, this SLF was expanded to allow provincial-level small- and medium-sized banks, for the first time, to tap liquidity from the central bank.  As
local financial institutions are usually both the major issuers and holders of local government debt, the expansion of the SLF to include local financial institutions opens a new channel for liquidity to flow from the central bank to local governments. This may suggest that the central bank, which is now on high alert for systemic risk, is willing to share some of the burden of local government, though on a very selective and non-regular basis.

 

The second key reason is embodied in the following central bank announcement: “[we will] explore the function of the SLF in setting the upper band of the market interest rates.” In other words, in the event that interest rates spike higher due to a systemic crisis, the central bank can intervene, via the SLF, to bring rates back down if it so desires. In addition, the PBOC did not disclose any set cap on the SLF, implying that unlimited liquidity could be provided as long as the market’s rate spike exceeds the bands set by the PBOC.

 

 

Most important, the SLF appears to represent the PBOC’s strategy to avert China’s widely-publicized local government debt and banking-system problems. It is  worth noting that even though local government debt amounts to 30% of GDP and is growing at an alarming rate, China’s central government is relatively underleveraged, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of only 23%, which is significantly lower than the emerging-market average. Therefore, Beijing has considerable unused borrowing capacity to share some of the debt burden taken on by local governments, which would have the additional positive impact of lowering borrowing costs for those governments.

In other words, the PBOC is laying the groundwork for what developed markets would call an open-ended liquidity injection which can be use to bail out one and all banks on an a la carte basis. Or, in the parlance of our times, the biggest QE bazooka of all because with total banking assets of nearly $25 trillion, said bazooka better be ready to fire at a moment’s notice.

 

The only question is when will the market force China’s central planners to demonstrate that unlike Paulson’s bazooks, the one in Beijing is not a dud…


    



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The Day We Fight Back – Big Internet Protest Against the NSA is Planned for Tomorrow

Tomorrow, a large coalition of privacy and civil liberties concerned organizations and companies will launch a grassroots campaign to stop illegal NSA spying called “The Day We Fight Back.” The organizers of this event are a diverse bunch, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Demand Progress, Mozilla, Campaign for Liberty, the ACLU and many, many more.

The protest is encouraging websites to put up a banner that will highlight ways to call and email your Congressional representatives in order to push them to support the USA Freedom Act, the only NSA focused legislation currently moving through Congress that actually has teeth to it in order to defend the 4th Amendment.

Liberty Blitzkrieg will be participating in this protest.

The organization describes its action as follows:

DEAR USERS OF THE INTERNET,

In January 2012 we defeated the SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation with the largest Internet protest in history. Today we face another critical threat, one that again undermines the Internet and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.

In celebration of the win against SOPA and PIPA two years ago, and in memory of one of its leaders, Aaron Swartz, we are planning a day of protest against mass surveillance, to take place this February 11th.

Together we will push back against powers that seek to observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action. Together, we will make it clear that such behavior is not compatible with democratic governance. Together, if we persist, we will win this fight.

WHAT WE’LL DO ON FEBRUARY 11th:

If you’re in the US: Thousands of websites will host banners urging people to call/email Congress. We’ll ask legislators to oppose the FISA Improvements Act, support the USA Freedom Act, and enact protections for non-Americans.

If you’re not in the US: Visitors will be asked to urge appropriate targets to institute privacy protections.

The Hill covered the protest. Here are some excerpts:

continue reading

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Jailhouse Sexual Shaming Alleged in Lawsuit

not a vacation spotA former female inmate at the Kauai Community
Correctional Center in Hawaii is suing the state’s department
of public safety and Neal Wagatsuma, the warden at Kauai. The
former inmate, Alexandria Gregg, is seeking class action status for
a lawsuit that alleges the warden practiced sexual shaming against
her and other female inmates. Via the
Garden Island
:

“During open public meetings of male and female
detainees in front of KCCC staff members, defendant Wagatsuma
repeatedly forced plaintiff and other class members to stand at a
podium and speak about their private, intimate and traumatizing
sexual experience,” the complaint states. “Wagatsuma asked
plaintiff what kind of drugs she used, whether she had sex while on
drugs, and how many partners plaintiff previously had sex relations
with.”

It claims that the warden ordered Gregg to elaborate on previous
incidents of rape as well as sexual preferences. The public
questionings were videotaped by male detainees, the suit states,
while Gregg and other alleged victims were instructed to stand at
the podium during the “public shamings.”

“Defendant Wagatsuma would often film these public sexual shamings.
Typically, the detainees selected for filming were young attractive
women,” the complaint reads.

At one point, a male detainee asked Gregg questions about whether
she enjoyed certain sexual acts, which the warden did nothing to
stop, the suit claims.

The lawsuit claims other jail employees didn’t respond to
complains about the shaming out of fear of retribution. Hawaii
doesn’t have county jail facilities. Kauai houses both male and
female inmates, and touts,
among other services, its “substance abuse treatment” as well as a
“Lifetime Stand Program” which it describes as “a structured,
paramilitary regimen of marching, drill exercises, physical
training, education, and community outreach.” Corrections officers,
saving the world.

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Birinyi: “Short-Sellers Have Learned Their Lesson” S&P 500 At 1,900 By June

While infamous ruler-user Laszlo Birinyi does note that "this market is not going to be like last year," he remains full bulltard as to where stocks are headed. As Bloomberg notes, Birinyi says stocks have too much momentum to make betting against them a winning strategy and the S&P will hit 1,900 by the end of the second quarter. "Short sellers have probably learned their lesson," he squeaks adding thatthe current pullback signals "healthy skepticism that sets the stage for more gains." One question – how was momentum in 1929? 1987? 1999? or 2007?

 

 

Via Bloomberg,

U.S. stocks have too much momentum to make betting against the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index a winning strategy and the gauge will probably reach 1,900 next quarter, according to money manager Laszlo Birinyi.

 

...It fell 5.8 percent in the three weeks staring Jan. 15, losses he said signal healthy skepticism that set the stage for more gains.

 

“I don’t like when the market just shrugs these things off,” Birinyi said from Westport, Connecticut. “It’s OK to just stop and take a deep breath. The market should have some sort of a negative reaction when you have problems in Turkey and Argentina. That didn’t make me uncomfortable.”

 

 

Short sellers have probably learned their lesson” after a year when 460 of 500 companies in the benchmark index climbed, the most since at least 1990, Birinyi said. At the same time, “there’s nothing that you can say is a bargain or a real value” if you’re a bull, he said.

 

 

“We’ve had a little bit of a detour and the road isn’t as smooth as it has been, but we still think the rally is intact,” Birinyi said.

 

The S&P 500 had fallen 5 percent or more 18 times previously since the start of the rally in March 2009, recovering the losses within about two months on average, data compiled by Bloomberg and Bespoke Investment Group show. To Birinyi, the latest retreat will be no different, though he said investors will have to shift their strategies to succeed in 2014.

 

This market is not going to be like last year, which was a very steady consistent market without a whole lot of volatility,” he said.

Bulls can only hope that Birinyi is correct (and it's the stock that matters)…

 

But it is the slowing flow that has hurt sentiment recently – and we suspect the Fed is to worried about its credibility to jump back on the un-taper bandwagon anytime soon…

 

Seems to us like all that matters is USDJPY holding above 102.00

 

h/t @Not_Jim_Cramer


    



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Birinyi: "Short-Sellers Have Learned Their Lesson" S&P 500 At 1,900 By June

While infamous ruler-user Laszlo Birinyi does note that "this market is not going to be like last year," he remains full bulltard as to where stocks are headed. As Bloomberg notes, Birinyi says stocks have too much momentum to make betting against them a winning strategy and the S&P will hit 1,900 by the end of the second quarter. "Short sellers have probably learned their lesson," he squeaks adding thatthe current pullback signals "healthy skepticism that sets the stage for more gains." One question – how was momentum in 1929? 1987? 1999? or 2007?

 

 

Via Bloomberg,

U.S. stocks have too much momentum to make betting against the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index a winning strategy and the gauge will probably reach 1,900 next quarter, according to money manager Laszlo Birinyi.

 

...It fell 5.8 percent in the three weeks staring Jan. 15, losses he said signal healthy skepticism that set the stage for more gains.

 

“I don’t like when the market just shrugs these things off,” Birinyi said from Westport, Connecticut. “It’s OK to just stop and take a deep breath. The market should have some sort of a negative reaction when you have problems in Turkey and Argentina. That didn’t make me uncomfortable.”

 

 

Short sellers have probably learned their lesson” after a year when 460 of 500 companies in the benchmark index climbed, the most since at least 1990, Birinyi said. At the same time, “there’s nothing that you can say is a bargain or a real value” if you’re a bull, he said.

 

 

“We’ve had a little bit of a detour and the road isn’t as smooth as it has been, but we still think the rally is intact,” Birinyi said.

 

The S&P 500 had fallen 5 percent or more 18 times previously since the start of the rally in March 2009, recovering the losses within about two months on average, data compiled by Bloomberg and Bespoke Investment Group show. To Birinyi, the latest retreat will be no different, though he said investors will have to shift their strategies to succeed in 2014.

 

This market is not going to be like last year, which was a very steady consistent market without a whole lot of volatility,” he said.

Bulls can only hope that Birinyi is correct (and it's the stock that matters)…

 

But it is the slowing flow that has hurt sentiment recently – and we suspect the Fed is to worried about its credibility to jump back on the un-taper bandwagon anytime soon…

 

Seems to us like all that matters is USDJPY holding above 102.00

 

h/t @Not_Jim_Cramer


    



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A. Barton Hinkle on When Faith and Politics Don’t Mix

According to a poll taken shortly before the
Super Bowl, 50 percent of American sports fans think supernatural
forces affect the outcome of athletic contests. Judging from recent
debates, many Virginians think supernatural forces should affect
the outcome of political ones, too. But, says A. Barton Hinkle,
there must be difference between personally held views and official
government policy. Citizens of a Christian persuasion might feel
differently about the appropriate degree of religion in the public
sphere if county supervisors opened meetings with prayers by
Wiccans, or if Muslims penned legislation to make health clubs hold
separate exercise classes for men and women.

View this article.

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A. Barton Hinkle on When Faith and Politics Don't Mix

According to a poll taken shortly before the
Super Bowl, 50 percent of American sports fans think supernatural
forces affect the outcome of athletic contests. Judging from recent
debates, many Virginians think supernatural forces should affect
the outcome of political ones, too. But, says A. Barton Hinkle,
there must be difference between personally held views and official
government policy. Citizens of a Christian persuasion might feel
differently about the appropriate degree of religion in the public
sphere if county supervisors opened meetings with prayers by
Wiccans, or if Muslims penned legislation to make health clubs hold
separate exercise classes for men and women.

View this article.

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Cable Channel’s Plan to Compete with the Internet: Become a Vapid Internet Highlights Reel

CNN’s sister channel HLN wants to
rebrand itself
, BuzzFeed reports:

Maybe they could go retro instead. Do everything in an '80s style, down to the anchors' hairdos.“Younger consumers have a very
different perception of what news and information is,” said [HLN
executive Albie] Hecht. “For them, news is really made in the palm
of their hands, in the iPhone prayer position. But they want every
update in real time and non-stop and that’s the space that is not
on TV. Our headlines are going to be ripped from social
media.”…

What Hecht aims to do is package and present news culled from the
media young viewers are actually consuming. While its competitors
will be mining newspapers and magazines and broadcast news for
headlines, HLN plans to instead curate blogs, Facebook and Tumblr
posts, YouTube videos, tweets, and memes to give the things that
are being traded and shared on the web a home on television. (HLN
will also, of course, be active in creating and pushing out new
content to various social media platforms and on tablets and mobile
devices.)

“There is no one place someplace where all of this news that you
share on the web is available,” said Hecht, who was dressed
corporate casual with a collared shirt and blazer, his silver hair
matching the color of his wire-rimmed glasses. “By giving it a
home, and saying clearly to the social media generation that this
is for you, come here, when you watch TV, watch us, I think that’s
going to be a very exciting development for them and for the
media.”

Of course “all of this news that you share on the web” has “a
home” already. That home is called “the Web.” Why anyone will want
to tune in to see Nancy Grace reading highlights from it is beyond
me. What Hecht is proposing isn’t news for people who get their
information online; it’s news for people who think it’s a clever
marketing strategy to include a hashtag in a TV ad. And while
that’s evidently enough viewers to fill the middle ranks of a dying
industry, I don’t think it’s enough to revive the fortunes of
Hecht’s employer.

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