Happy Friday, View fans. Here’s the rundown of my breakfast reading from this morning.
The SAC Capital of professional cycling
Joe Morgenstern gives a solid review to Alex Gibney’s new documentary on Lance Armstrong, which he calls “grimly fascinating.” But I confess, the main reason I included this article is so I’d have a chance to call Armstrong “the SAC Capital of cycling” in a headline. Steven A. Cohen’s firm has been known as “the Lance Armstrong of hedge funds” for so long, I figured it was time the flip the moniker on its head, now that SAC has agreed to plead guilty to insider-trading charges. But read the film review and see the movie anyway. Morgenstern, a Pulitzer Prize winner, calls “The Armstrong Lie” a “tale of ambition that’s almost mad enough to be mythic.” Good stuff.
Floyd Norris on credit cards and Congress
The New York Times columnist tells the story of some academics who set out to study the effects of credit-card legislation passed in 2009 and were surprised to find that it worked: “It cut down the costs of credit cards, particularly for borrowers with poor credit. And, the researchers concluded, `we find no evidence of an increase in interest charges or a reduction to access to credit.’” Counter-intuitive, for sure.
After yesterday’s surprise rate cut by the European Central Bank, “lack of weaponry may be Draghi’s biggest obstacle now,” write Stefan Riecher and Alessandro Speciale of Bloomberg News. Draghi told reporters after breaking the news that “the effectiveness of standard measures of monetary policy is greatly reduced as you go down to the zero lower bound.” The benchmark rate is down to a record low of 0.25 percent. Related: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on the ECB rate cut. Also see: “The Fed’s Bubble Solution” by the blogger who calls himself Macro Man.
The world’s first real 3D-printed gun
From John Biggs at TechCrunch: “The Liberator, for all the hoopla, was not really a gun. This 3D-printed firearm, on the other hand, is a gun. It is a copy of a 1911 made using public-domain plans and a laser sintering system that solidifies metal powder. It fires just like a real semi-automatic pistol." And it’s legal.
Put it this way: The writer is no Greg Smith. This comes to us via Going Concern, the online tabloid that covers the accounting profession, which says the e-mail was written by a failed auditor on the way out the door after quitting PricewaterhouseCoopers. This may be the weirdest ending I’ve ever seen in a resignation note: “Beyonce wins and now that I’m out of here, I win too!!!”
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)