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: The DR is looking for corporate candidates...

Uncle Bill
01-16-2010, 02:14 PM
...for their Financial Darwin Awards. I'm sure many of you have some you'd like to see "honored"??? Kinda like giving Obama the Nobel, only the Darwins are deserved because they were earned.

Just to set up the situation, here's a column from the managing editor of The Daily Reckoning. Enjoy.


Joel Bowman, with a few words about evolution from Taipei, Taiwan...

Nobody knows prices like Mr. Market. And that's precisely why the US government is so scared to subject him to any serious line of's afraid of how bad the answers might be. But what's really to be scared of?

Left to their own devices, there is little doubt that institutions like the nation's largest insurer and its flagship automakers would have already found their place in the corporate tar pit. But instead of letting these dinosaurs die in disgrace, DC greases up the paddles, cranks up the voltage on the world's largest defibrillator and goes to work trying to keep them alive.

But to what end? We're told it's because they're "too big to fail." They need to be bailed out...stimulated...pumped full of adrenalin then made to walk in a straight line and touch their nose. Of course, all that medical attention costs money...and lots of it. And, since the government doesn't have any of its own, you get the bill.

An army of semi-conscious, half-extinct financial sponges and a multi- trillion dollar tab to keep them all alive... Ain't that just what a struggling economy needs?

The curious investor might ask whether that money couldn't be better spent somewhere else, by someone else, and for someone else. That same investor might see these lobbying leeches as a drag on the overall economy. He might even dare to wonder if, after all is said and done, they weren't simply "too stupid to succeed."

The problem with impeding the natural selective processes of the marketplace is that you're always left in "survival of the weakest" mode. Corporations that don't have to answer to Mr. Market won't. Instead, they'll invent conjuring tricks like mark-to-model pricing and assorted other shenanigans...always safe in the knowledge that if judgment day ever comes, Uncle Sam will be their to change their bedpan.

Here at The Daily Reckoning, we see things a little differently. Don't get us wrong, we relish the opportunity to mock corporate inefficiency and near-criminal idiocy in the boardroom. It makes our job as armchair commentators that much easier. Even so, we prefer to see a quick that doesn't require tax-dollar sponsorship.

That's why we've decided to relaunch the Daily Reckoning Financial Darwin Awards. It's our way of saying "thank you" to those companies that, through their own dedication to stupidity and an unwavering inability to adapt to the marketplace, have removed themselves permanently from the corporate gene pool.

Incidentally, nominations for this year's prize are now open. We've received votes for an array of individual companies and, unsurprisingly, for just about every level of government bureaucracy you can imagine...from the US Postal Service to the "entire state of California."

If you would like to nominate a freshly extinct company for our 2009 Daily Reckoning Financial Darwin Awards, simply drop us an email at (

And, to help celebrate the event, we're also running a $1, one-month trial ( to our most successful short selling research service. This service actually seeks to profit when dishonest, unprofitable and overleveraged companies are forced to fess up to losses.

As you can imagine, these past couple of years have provided ample opportunity for Strategic Short Report readers to cash in on others' foolishness. And, according to editor Dan Amoss, this year is shaping up to be even bigger...

You can check out the offer in this simple, single-page information sheet (

Dan's research usually goes for about $1,500 per year so, as you've probably already guessed, we can't hold this offer open for long. That means first in, first served. (There's a "survival of the fittest" pun in there somewhere...but we won't belabor the point.)

Uncle Bill
01-20-2010, 02:18 PM
No one here getting in on this? There are quite afew that are, as Joel tells us.

Our inbox is so full of idiots, anyone snooping might think we operated a website ending in ".gov"...

Our faithful (and unfaithful) readers were busy over the weekend, nominating their choices for this year's Daily Reckoning Financial Darwin Awards ( It's a tough field, to be sure, so we're keeping the polls open for a couple more weeks. The contestants thus far are varied and plentiful...

One reckoner raised a hand for "Arnie Schwarzen-begger"...while another voted for the terminator's entire state of California. Utah and Alaska also received state dishonors. And then...

"My vote goes to the US Government and the 'man of the year' helicopter Ben," opined another reader. "Though to be fair, he didn't do it alone. No man could have. It took Alan and Henry and Tim and countless other arrogant men to get to that place in time where you could financially cripple a whole world.

"Mostly it took the American people themselves who got so caught up in their TV shows and their high standard of living that they did not notice the biggest heist in the history of the world, taking place in plain view! It's as though someone walked into their living rooms and started methodically removing all of their things and they didn't even notice. The thieves are about to unplug the TV. It should be interesting to see what happens."

At a quick glance, the ".govs" have it by a long shot over the ".orgs" and the ".coms"...but the votes keep comin'. Could it simply be a case of too many clowns and not enough circuses?

"I nominate Barnes Banking of Kaysbille Utah for the Darwin Award," writes another reader. "They have recently been taken over by the State and the FDIC."

Horizon Bank, based in Bellingham, Washington (to which we assume the reader is referring) may be extinct, but is it really uniquely reckless? Being taken over by the FDIC seems awfully like "resume padding" for these Darwin Awards. After all, this IS a depression. Competition is stiff. And just as every hopeful employee cites "conversational [restaurant] Spanish" or "enjoys traveling," on their curriculum vitae, so can a laundry list of banks claim being absorbed by the FDIC as a buffer qualification. Last year alone 171 lenders fell into the federal insurer's arms...then the FDIC itself went broke! It seems even lending money to people who can't or won't ever repay it doesn't set one bank apart from the others.

There were plenty of nominations for individuals, too. One reader from Virginia submitted the following list of dedicated devolutionists...

"The incomparable John Thain, formerly of Merrill Lynch, who worried more about decorating his office than guiding his firm...

"Robert Nardelli, value destroyer extraordinaire, first at Home Depot and later at Chrysler, whose focus was solely on negotiating generous separation packages for himself...

"Chuck Prince at Citigroup, who couldn't stop dancing while the music played, and is probably still dancing...

"Rick Wagoner, former CEO of General Motors, whose peerless vision couldn't see anything coming."

Impressive as the nominations have been so far, we're really looking for an idiot to stand above the rest. These are competitive times indeed. It will take a truly prize moron to stand atop this bunch.

You can still email us with your Financial Darwin Award nominee right here: ( And, don't forget to make sure you grab a buck along the way too. Our colleague, Dan Amoss, is offering a $1, one-month trial membership to his Strategic Short Report research service in conjunction with our own Darwin Awards competition. Dan's readers have made a small fortune betting against ill-fated corporate dinosaurs like Lehman Bros. and Washington Mutual. Right now he has his eye on a trucking company that he says, "expanded too aggressively at the peak of the credit boom." With capacity shrinking fast, Dan's predicting 150% profits for his readers. Get his next alert here for $1 (

Meanwhile, in today's issue, we bring you an essay from Hong Kong-based money manager, Puru Saxena. Your editor caught up with Puru last week for some Chinese food and a chat about the general state of the world. Puru told us he's long gold and energy and, as you might have guessed from those positions, not optimistic for the future of the West.

"In the US, for example, they've got a Federal Reserve bank that is neither 'Federal' nor does it have any 'reserves,'" he joked. "We're bullish on growth markets, metals, assets that can't be 'printed' and, therefore, inflated out of existence."

paul young
01-20-2010, 02:58 PM
i would nominate anyone who thinks someone would sell them the means to reap a 150% profit for a dollar.......

oceanfront property for sale in NoDak regards!-Paul