R.I.P. Jazz-Funk Legend Joe Sample

Mr. Joe Sample and the Jazz Crusaders gave some of the best live performances ever!  If they had a concert within a few hundred miles radius of where I lived, I found a way to get there - no matter what.

Thank you Mr. Sample.  Your amazingly beautiful music lives on - forever.  R.I.P. sir!

Straight Talk from Actor Kevin Spacey


Return of the Mack

The "Stock Act" Allows Top Federal Employees To Trade on Inside Information



by Mark Gongloff

Huffington Post


Who says nothing ever gets done in Washington? Swiftly and without fanfare, Congress and President Obama have made it easier for top federal employees to trade on inside information.

On Monday, Obama signed into a law a change in the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK Act, which was passed in 2012. The change, which was approved unanimously by Congress last week, means that top federal employees, including staffers on Capital Hill and in the White House, will not have to publicly disclose their financial holdings online. That requirement was part of the original STOCK Act, but its implementation had been delayed again and again by Congress. And now it's dead.

The STOCK Act change does not apply to the president, vice president, members of Congress or candidates for Congress. Obama and Congress loudly passed the original STOCK Act last year after reports in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, along withacademic studies, noted that lawmakers with access to market-moving information were suspiciously lucky in the timing of their stock trades. One widely-cited estimate suggests congressional portfolios outperform the broader market by 12 percent annually, though there are reasons to doubt that figure.

The rationale for changing the law was that its disclosure requirements created a national security risk, according to a study ordered by Congress and completed by the National Academy of Public Administration. Federal employees' unions had objected to the law from the start, saying it could put federal staffers at risk.

Still, changing the law creates its own risks. Though the law's disclosure requirements still apply to members of Congress, staffers have been a big part of the insider trading problem all along. As the WSJ reported in 2010, many congressional staffers were actively trading in stocks of companies with business before Congress. And many of those staffers were working on legislation affecting those companies.

But it's not as if the original STOCK Act was likely to fully clamp down on insider trading anyway: It was loaded with loopholes, Yale professor Jonathan Macey noted in 2011.

"On closer examination, it appears that what Congress really wants is to keep making the big bucks that come from trading on inside information but to trick those outside of the Beltway into believing they are doing something about this corruption," Macey wrote.

They're still at it.

Ex-SAC Trader Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison for Insider Trading Scheme


by Matthew Goldstein


Mathew Martoma was sentenced to nine years in prison on Monday for carrying out one of the biggest insider trading schemes on record in 2008 when he was working as a portfolio manager at Steven A. Cohen’s former hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisors.

The sentence was in line with what the government was seeking. Prosecutors working for Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, had asked for a prison term of eight years or more for Mr. Martoma, who was convicted in February by a federal jury in Manhattan. Mr. Martoma’s lawyers had simply asked Judge Paul G. Gardephe to show mercy and sentence him to a significantly shorter term.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Gardephe said, “The sums here are staggering and the size of the punishment must be sufficient to deter others.”

Mr. Martoma was also ordered to forfeit a $9.38 million bonus he earned while working at SAC in 2008.

Mr. Martoma was silent during the sentencing hearing. His wife, Rose, seated in the front row, could be seen wiping her eyes at times.

Hours before the sentencing hearing was scheduled to begin in a Lower Manhattan courtroom, Judge Gardephe indicated his thinking about Mr. Martoma’s sentence for making illegal trades in shares of two drug companies, Elan and Wyeth.

The judge said in a 25-page decision issued Monday morning that it was appropriate for him to consider all of the $275 million in profits and avoided losses made both by Mr. Martoma and his former boss. Judge Gardephe noted that while prosecutors did not name Mr. Cohen as a co-conspirator, the evidence at trial proved that Mr. Martoma “provided inside information to Cohen and this information was the basis for Mr. Cohen and SAC Capital’s subsequent trades in Elan and Wyeth securities.”

Please read more here.

CNN: "How to Rob a Bank from Home"



I was doing some research on natural gas for my energy trading classes when I stumbled across this video.  This is a CNN Special Investigation Units Report explaining how identity theft, check fraud, and scams work so you can better protect yourself against them in the future.

Pharrell's "Happy": Viola Cover by Jeremy Green

Mr. Bobby Caldwell

A friend of mine just told me that I used to walk around U.C. Berkeley's math department singing this Bobby Caldwell song. I guess I was in my own little math geeky world - oblivious to the fact that I was disturbing the peace. LOL!

Bobby Caldwell has what is known as blue-eyed soul. Enjoy!

European Oil & Gas Company Looking for Finance Director


A global business that provides services to the Oil and Gas sector is assisting with the recruitment of a Finance Director who would be responsible for the management of the finance function, for a key business segment within the organization. 

Education & Experience 

• Degree in finance / accounting with an MBA (desirable) 
• Extensive experience in managing a finance function with exposure to project cost control in an international environment. 
• Oil and Gas sector experience. 
• Experience in an accounting consultancy firm is desirable. 

Please read more here.

Price of "Black Gold" (Oil) Set to Soar?

by Chad Shoop

...the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) believes the risk of oil is to the upside. They have a low-range price of oil at $75 by 2040. Its high range … is $237 per barrel. Considering the price of oil was $110 when they made these determinations, this range represents a 30% swing to the downside or a 110% curve to the upside...

Please read more here.

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