Barry Ritholtz says, “Don’t let the trolls get you down!”

❝ I began sharing my work online two decades ago as one of the early financial bloggers. I started on Yahoo Geocities in the 1990s, Typepad in 2003, and finally on WordPress at my own domain in 2008. That is where the Big Picture still resides…

Alas, a classic case of the tragedy of the commons struck, rendering comments mostly worthless as they were overrun with spam advertising and trolls. Managing them was a giant time suck, with no effective technology solution. It was with some reluctance that I finally decided to close down my blog comments. For the same reasons, you will not find a comment section below my Bloomberg View columns.

❝ Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive officer, seems to be making some progress in the company’s response as it begins cleaning up its act and banning some of the most egregious offenders. It has also given users more tools to help them avoid the worst of the trolls. This is good news for those of us in the financial community, as Twitter is a tremendous resource.

Reading discussions between a few law professors about their Twitter usage (see this and this) reminded me of this. Because I find Twitter to be enormously helpful, I want you to also take advantage of its resources. Here are a few ideas that can help you, too…

RTFA. We can always use more suggestions about dealing with the ego-smitten or simply corrupt folk who take up otherwise useful space online.

How [not] to behave in front of press cameras


Click to enlargeIn livid color by Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

❝ US president Donald Trump sat down for an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office on Wednesday (Jan 17). While the interview ended with takeaways of Trump’s plan ahead for this year’s midterm elections and tensions with North Korea, a truly remarkable exclusive was this photo of Trump and his communication staff engaged in tense tableau while Reuters journalists looked on…

We see Trump, sitting at the Resolute desk, a stern look on his face, finger pointed squarely at his communications director Hope Hicks. Hicks appears to be grabbing a notepad from the desk, and appears apologetic. On the right, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stands mouth agape, watching Trump and Hick’s interaction…

❝ The photo’s comic composition is remarkable, with the three figures aligned horizontally as if onstage. One of the Trump administration’s greatest accomplishments in the past year might be its staff members’ past and present efforts to project a stable disposition, even as deeply sourced reporting from inside the White House says otherwise. But here, is the president berating his staff in front of press, while Sanders — the one responsible for explaining his behavior — reacts in dismay? Or is it just a fleeting moment in an undramatic encounter?

Trump thinks he’s the boss of the world. How else would you expect him to act?

New Movie, “Hostiles” — Profound Respect for Native Culture

Scott Cooper’s Hostiles, Starring Wes Studi, Rosamund Pike and Christian Bale is a flawless portrayal of an unflinching, vicious and unforgiving America in 1892.

❝ In countless movie reviews, many of you have undoubtedly heard the term “sitting on the edge of my seat,” to describe a movie that might be cutting edge, causing tension, or even outrage. In this movie Hostiles, I was literally watching this movie, sitting on the edge of my seat, the entire time…

I felt outrage at the reality, laughed at the humanity and grieved for the brutal truth that existed in the world of 1892. I didn’t expect this from this movie as I went into it waiting for the same stale stereotypes often portrayed in westerns or civil war films … Soldiers hate Indians, Indians hate the soldiers. Settlers fear the Indians, everybody tries to kill each other, the end.

Read this whole review by Vincent Schilling. Useful commentary as well as incentive to see the film. Which I shall.

What we lost


Click to enlargeLibrary of Congress

❝ Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X met only once. On March 26, 1964, the two black leaders were on Capitol Hill, attending Senate debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

❝ King was stepping out of a news conference, when Malcolm X, dressed in an elegant black overcoat and wearing his signature horn-rimmed glasses, greeted him.

“Well, Malcolm, good to see you,” King said.

“Good to see you,” Malcolm X replied.

❝ Cameras clicked as the two men walked down the Senate hall together…

❝ The exchange would last only a minute, but the photo remains a haunting reminder of what was lost. They would never meet again before each was assassinated, first Malcolm X and then King.

I met each of these men. Briefly. Once each.

BITD, when I still was a performing artist, I opened for Dr. King on a street corner in the West Side of Chicago. !2-string guitar and all, it was a sunny day in reality and metaphor. MLKjr had come to Chicago to join the fight to end institutional racism, segregated schools in Chicago. Joining Al Raby. Confronting Mayor Daley and part of the racist wing of the Democratic Party. The summer of 1965.

I met Malcolm on another street corner. In 1958 in Harlem. He stood on a step ladder addressing a crowd of a hundred or so. Near Lewis Michaux’s African National Memorial Bookstore. A frequent use for that street corner. I’d taken the A Train to Harlem with my closest friend then. A young Black man working as medical intern for a homebound physician. I was working as a technician in a corporate research lab. We met at night school – both trying to get degrees somehow that might put us in line for better paying work. Both trying to learn more about the nation around us. The racism that chained us together.

Malcolm saw us on the edge of the crowd. And after his speech he came over and asked why we were together. And though his meet was obviously focussed on my friend Daniel, he praised our seeking knowledge, together or separately. Encouraging us.

Both were dead, assassinated within a decade.

China selling off oil it no longer needs

The pace at which China exports the fuel it doesn’t want is set to jump by more than four times in 2018, according to the nation’s biggest energy producer.

That’s a harbinger of bad news for processors in the rest of Asia — from South Korea to Japan and India — who now have to contend with higher crude prices as well as the threat of the flood dragging down refining margins. Government-issued quotas to sell oil products abroad may also expand this year in order to ease a large supply glut in the domestic market, an analyst at China National Petroleum Corp. said on Tuesday.

China’s net oil-product exports — a measure that strips out imports — may climb about 31 percent to 46.8 million metric tons this year, CNPC said in its annual report released in Beijing. Shipments rose about 7 percent in 2017.

In particular, exports of diesel — also known as gasoil — are expected to soar 47 percent to 23.8 million tons in 2018 from a year earlier, according to the CNPC report.

Yup. Countries smart enough to walk away from fossil fuels, pollution, economists and politicians with fossilized brains – end up with “problems” like selling off the excess crap they no longer need or want. One of the early results from switching to renewables like wind and solar-generated electricity.