Will the Real Rick Santelli Stand Up?

Ever since CNBC commentator Rick Santelli made his rant heard ’round the world from Chicago’s commodity trading pits, I’ve been searching for his birthdate.

I haven’t succeeded. However, Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture is quoting some persuasive evidence that Santelli is the front-man for a far-right GOP organization. Check it out!

There’s more than meets the eye to Santelli’s seemingly spontaneous eruption against Obamanation and his call for a “Chicago tea party.” Anybody got a birthday on Santelli? Love to hear about it.

The Next LOL Cats: Sad Guys on Trading Floors?

We’ve all seen dozens of pictures of traders looking sad as the market has tanked since Sept. 8, the Monday that Pluto went direct.

This Web site brings them all together, from markets all over the world, with some pretty funny captions. It’s called, quite simply, Sad Guys on Trading Floors. I hope the creators make some money out of it. This could even replace the LOL Cats.

By the way, I got this link from market maven Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture, who credits boingboing.net.

I can has stop-loss order?

It’s Time to Get the Big Picture

First, apologies to Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture, one of my favorite financial blogs, for borrowing his title for my headline.

I actually discovered The Big Picture about three years ago. I was fed up with all the dribs and drabs of financial information I was receiving and on a whim, I typed the words “The Big Picture” into Google. That’s how I discovered Ritholtz’s Web site.

Throughout my life, one way that I’ve consoled myself when things weren’t going well is to step back and take a really big view of the situation. In high school, when my best friend committed suicide and I was overwhelmed with grief, I started reading Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy.

About a month after my friend shot her head off with her father’s hunting rifle, I was in a very serious car accident. I was in the hospital for a month with internal injuries. When I got out, I was depressed because I had a four-inch scar on my left leg. It was time to get the really big picture.

For the next year or so, I methodically made my way through all 11 volumes in Will and Ariel Durant’s Story of Western Civilization. I now know that the story of civilization that I was reading was a Euro-centric, patriarchal version, but that’s another post. Reading about the fall of the Roman empire and the Crusades made my problems seem small in comparison.

I gradually recovered from my psychic and physical injuries, but I never lost my love for stepping back and taking the long view.

Of course, having the Internet at your disposal makes it easy to do this. Last week, as I was searching for some nugget of truth about what’s happening to our world, I came upon an old post from Dharmaruci at AstroTableTalk.

He wrote it in 2004, for the Astrological Association Journal of Britain. He reprinted it on his Web site in 2006. It’s a prediction for the world from 2008-2015.

Here’s a little teaser to get you to click on that link:

Says Dharmaruci: “My prediction – which I will try to justify – is that there will be an oil crisis that will change everything. This crisis will come about either because the supply will at last be unable to meet the ever-growing demand, and/or because the major powers, anxious about the continuity of supplies, will take pre-emptive action.

The major powers may become to some extent military societies as their survival is threatened, and they may take over many of the oil-producing countries in order to secure supplies, as well as fighting amongst themselves. Nuclear weapons will probably play a part in this.

This situation will result in a worldwide crisis in which governments, sovereignties, state boundaries and the basic way we structure our societies will change radically. There will eventually be a Second Great Depression and possibly a reversal of the trend towards globalisation and free trade.

Positively, the unreality of basing our economies around an ephemeral source of energy will gradually become accepted.” (italics mine)

The prescience of this article is positively mind-blowing. Check it out.

Now, you may ask why knowing that the end of oil is nigh and that we’re probably headed toward a Great Depression makes me feel better. Good question.

Well, first of all, it liberates me from my tendency to fret about stupid little things, like the fact that my favorite coat got bleached by the sun when I left it hanging on the porch for months.

Getting bogged down by petty material concerns is a tendency of mine with Saturn conjunct Mercury in Capricorn, at the IC, no less. Understanding that soaring energy costs were part of the reason why people didn’t pay their mortgages, triggering the fall of Wall Street’s house of cards frees me from my usual nit-picking.

Since I can’t control how much oil is left in the earth and probably won’t be inventing an alternative energy source in my garage, I feel entitled to focus on the things that are really important to me — cultivating relationships, to start. With the market meltdown, the phone has been ringing and the e-mails have been coming in. I haven’t heard from this many friends and family since September 11, 2001.

My other priorities: participating in events and networks that bring about change (I’m not a helpless bystander on this earth, after all), taking care of body and soul, and savoring the small pleasures in life, like the beautiful red cardinal that was in the backyard today.

It’s often said that the “devil is in the details.” But for me, the Divine is in the details. The paradox is that in order to recognize It (as opposed to sweating the small stuff), I have to step back and look at the big picture. Then I can move forward.

Raging Universe on Raging Markets

I was up into the wee hours of the morning at my day job, posting stories about the impending bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the hastily arranged merger between Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, and the “restructuring” of AIG.

I had planned to sleep until noon, but my curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to see how the markets would open at 9:30 a.m.

I’m awake, but too dazed to analyze why this is happening now. The financial turmoil seems to be coinciding with today’s full Harvest Moon at 5:13 a.m. Of course, the eclipse back in August squaring the New York Stock Exchange natal Sun was my signal to move to cash. Still, I didn’t think things were going to be quite as crazy as this.

Fortunately, Raging Universe has his wits about him. Here’s what he has to say about the Full Moon at 22 degrees of Pisces conjunct Uranus and the chaotic financial markets.

It’s interesting that Hurricane Ike hit Houston as the Sun in Virgo opposed Uranus at 20 degrees of Pisces. Now, financial commenters are calling the combination of last night’s financial events “Wall Street’s Perfect Storm.” Uranus in Pisces: hurricanes in Houston and on Wall Street.

If you’re looking for more intelligence on the Wall Street meltdown, check out my favorite finance maven, Barry Ritholtz, who blogs at The Big Picture.

The economist of the hour is Nouriel Roubini, who was on Bloomberg TV last night, predicting “disaster” for the U.S. financial system that “is going to get worse.” Why? Because we’re drowning in debt. (If you click on this TV interview with Roubini, be patient.)

I’ve blogged about Roubini, whom the press has dubbed “Dr. Doom,” which was also the moniker of famed economist Henry Kaufman the last time Saturn was in Virgo.

I hope that today’s Dr. Doom is being quite careful about what he says, because in this video here, he’s talking about the possibility of a run on U.S. banks. He’s encouraging Congress to immediately recapitalize the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which insures deposits of up to $100,000. The danger of even saying something like this in today’s environment is that it will trigger a panic.

The W-Shaped Recession


This just in, as Paul Harvey likes to say, from Standard & Poor’s Economics. The purveyors of the so-called dismal science are sometimes inadvertantly funny. To wit:

“First-quarter growth was little revised (0.9% from 1.0%), but the 2007 fourth quarter was revised to minus 0.2% from plus 0.6%, making the downturn look much more like a “W”-shaped recession, according to S&P Economics.”

Let’s hope the media remembers to call it the “W” recession once the next President is in office so we’ll remember that this mess is the legacy of George W. Bush.

I couldn’t resist posting this as a comment to Barry Ritholtz’ coverage of the surprising jump in unemployment claims. His site, The Big Picture, is indispensable, in my humble opinion, for its unvarnished coverage of the economic scene.