Apollo Group looks ready to crack and lots of must-reads for today

Did you breathlessly hop out of your bed this morning to check on the latest developments from Greece and the Euro-crisis? No? Me neither. I’m not looking to force anything here, but I am considering adding to my Apollo Group put position. Will let you guys know any details if and when I pull the trigger. The stock’s acting badly and looks like it could crack and crack hard if the markets fall much from here at all. Which leads me to today’s first link. Here’s what I was reading about today that actually matters.

A modeled student – The for-profit schools are already lobbying for more changes to the Pell grant system based on their modeling for what’s most profitable for the school. The student? Hey, he’s using taxpayer Pell grants to pay the for-profit anyway, so who cares if he gets discriminated against in the process. Corporate, private profits funded with taxpayer money is a good thing, right?

Facebook’s nudity and violence guidelines are laid bare – As Facebook comes public, the scrutiny over its privacy and other policies is only going to rise. I’ve mentioned the “Building Apple Backlash” repeatedly in recent weeks, and I think Apple, Google and Facebook are all headed towards a much-more difficult regulatory environment. Remember how Microsoft’s strategies and business practices have had to change as it became as dominant as it was in the late 1990s? With great power comes great responsibility, right?

Midwest Farmland Prices Update for the Year 2011 – I’ve been long the DBA ETF personally and in the Revolution Investing model portfolio for a long time and this is another data point that makes me more bullish about food prices in coming years (read: inflation).

Creepy model watch – Same author as the one above, absolutely fascinating take on the coming problems with all this “consumer data modeling” that’s continuing to explode. As the mathbabe phrases it in the article: “So there you have it, a negative feedback loop and a death spiral of modeling.”

The “Can’t Find Workers” Meme – Very well-written and pithy take on the tired ol’ repeated meme by the mainstream media. He does a great job of “Flipping It”: “You could almost say companies these days don’t have the employin’ skills they used to.”

JPMorgan, Citi, BofA sued for $949 million by Sealink – It’s still so depressing to read how these banks have screwed over investors, homeowners, taxpayers…everybody. Good luck getting paid on any of this, Sealink. Or not, given the fact that if the banks continue to essentially fund all their losses with taxpayer money anyway.

John O’Brien: Mortgage Settlement Fails to Address Banking Criminal Enterprise – That’s John L. O’Brien of the Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds in Salem, MA. He’s not happy about the proposed AG/Admin Mortgage Fraud Settlement, as he writes things like, “When you enter my registry you see a sign that reads “The deeds tell the story.” Before the big banks took it upon themselves to corrupt the land recordation system, the deeds used to tell a happy story, one in which people purchased a home and lived “the American Dream.” Today, however they tell a different story one of greed, fraud, and forgery. By now everyone in Massachusetts knows what I have been doing over the past two years to expose and stop the schemes by the Mortgage Electronic Recording Systems, Inc. and their shareholder banks. The accuracy and integrity of the land records in my registry are of the upmost importance to me.”

Obama Campaign Lists 35 National Co-Chairmen – Notice who is on the list: two of the lead attorneys general from the settlement, Kamala Harris (California) and Tom Miller (Iowa). They’re working for you, citizens of California and Iowa, I’m sure.

Responding to Critics, S.E.C. Defends ‘No Wrongdoing’ Settlements – Is the head of the SEC, Mary Schapiro, joking when she says things like this:  “People won’t settle with us if they have to admit” wrongdoing, Ms. Schapiro said, because it opens them to liability in civil damages lawsuits. That’s exactly the point, Mary! We need to open these banks (she calls banks “People”, I guess. Freudian slip? I doubt it). Stop settling if you can’t get an admission of guilt, Mary. She continues with shockers like this “In these [giant banking] enterprises, there are lots of problems probably going on at any given time, in far-flung areas,” Ms. Schapiro said, like a structured products unit, the mutual fund management area or the brokerage firm. Sometimes the violations involve individual brokers or branch offices having little to do with the parent company. “These are enormous undertakings and enterprises, and I think as we look in different areas of their businesses and we focus on different topics, we find problems over and over again,” she said. Hey, Mary and you other sellouts at the SEC, stop settling, force some prison terms and I guarantee you’ll stop “finding problems over and over again” at the same damn banks.

Here’s a take of mine from a couple years ago on the same topic:  Mary Schapiro: Either a Tool or a Leader of the Illuminati Be

Key Penny Stock Lessons From My Latest Marketwatch Feature Article – I’m about to write an article on why you should avoid penny stocks for you guys here next week, so stay tuned. In the meantime, kudos to Timothy on the great calls and great press. Timothy has figured out how to profit on this kind of stuff in a transparent, even-helpful-to-society kind of way.

Thinking about Profit Margins – Profit margins at CAT, GE, Disney, Apple and so many other places are higher than they’ve ever been. Is that sustainable? Can they improve even more and shock the hell out of everybody?