Like most bloggers, I have a big fat mouth and sometimes it opens before the brain it’s attached to can complete the necessary processes.
UNLIKE most bloggers, however, I’m not afraid to admit when I’ve spoken in error and I am certainly no stranger to making apologies. Get ready for a little contrition, as there are a handful of people I’d like to say I’m sorry to for things I’ve said in 2009:
Dan Greenhaus, analyst at Miller Tabak
The day they sentenced Bernie Madoff, I caught an off-hand remark made by Dan Greenhaus in which he said something to the effect of “This monster is single-handedly responsible for an entire generation never investing again” or something like that. As someone who works with clients and their investments for a living, I remember being offended and derisively comparing this remark to the infamous “Death of Equities” BusinessWeek cover that heralded a massive bull market. In reality, I had merely taken his remark out of context and used it as the basis of a quasi-personal attack in my frustration. Shortly after, for the first and only time since, I decided to remove this post in its entirety from my site as the content itself was hateful, useless to the reader and way overblown. I’m sorry Mr. Greenhaus.
Hank Greenberg, ex-CEO of AIG
Piling on and bullying are two things it makes me sick to see in this world. When I find myself engaging in these activities myself, I feel even worse. Hank Greenberg will be just fine financially no matter what I say, but doing a faux-day in the life narrative was childish and insensitive to a man whose entire legacy and a great deal of his fortune were flushed down the drain. Here’s a sample of my boorishness:
7:45 am: Phone interview with Financial Times, “Yes, the AIG Financial Products unit was started at my behest, but mainly for the purposes of reading to children and walking old ladies across the street.”
8:30 am: En route to CNBC Studios in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” by Chicago on the radio.
Silly. Also funny. But mostly silly. I’m sorry Mr. Greenberg.
Ned Riley, Pundit
In February of 2009, during the peak of the global equities crash, I had reached my boiling point with the pundits who had spent two years going on CNBC to tell us that everything was going to be fine. Ned Riley caught my wrath because, to me, he was the personification of this sort of thing and I happened to have been sent this clip of him at his most incredibly wrong. Here’s what I said at the time (accompanied by the actual video clip):
Riley made one of his usual uber-bullish CNBC appearances on August 17th of 2007 (Dow 13,000 with the rate cuts and sub prime debacle beginning). He dropped such a cornucopia of devastatingly awful advice that you need to see it to believe that this all came out over the course of 9 minutes. Peter Schiff, Trish Regan and Dylan Ratigan were all on hand for the festivities. Some choice nuggets? First, Riley repsonds to a question from someone who is 58 and retiring at 59 by commenting that it might be a good idea to be 95% in equities. Minutes later, he recommends large, stable money center banks (remember those) and the XLF (bank index ETF). He also remarked that the market was at a good valuation, the Fed will save the day, it’s just the Countrywides with the sub prime problems, buy the S&P 500, buy tech stocks…etc. Ned Riley would call The Apocalypse a buying opportunity.
I doubt that he is usually this incorrect, so I apologize for taking this one appearance and using it as a focal point for my disgust with punditry in general. I’m sorry Mr. Riley.
Lucas Van Praag, Goldman Sachs flack
This guy was on the front lines of quite possibly the biggest media and populist assault on a company in corporate history. I’m sure he’s being paid nicely for defending the Squid, and that my apology won’t mean much to someone with the veins of ice water required to do his job, but still, I may have been out of line with my fake To Do list I posted over the summer:
Imagine being in charge of media relations for the insurance industry, oil industry, Catholic diocese of Boston and the tobacco industry all in one shot? He’s got his work cut out for him, but it is only his work after all. I’m sorry Mr. Van Praag.
I will not be apologizing to the following people/ entities:
- The spam machine at Motley Fool
- Ruth Madoff and other sundry wives and girlfriends of the Ponzinistas
- Tea Party troglodytes
- Dennis Kneale
- Moody’s and the rest of the ratings agency fraud squad
- Alan Greenspan
- The lobbyist business
- The Swiss tax evasion industry
- The Office of Thrift Supervision
- Stan O’Neal, Dick Fuld, Jimmy Cayne, Chuck Prince, Ken Lewis
- Proponents of the Trader Tax
- Ayn Rand and her Objectivist acolytes
- Joe Cassano and the rest of the AIG Structured Products tornado
- The City of El Centro California
- Simon Cowell and anyone involved with American idol
- Crocs and Heelys
- The Obama administration’s jobs and employment non-task force
You guys all still suck and probably still will in 2010.
Happy New Year.