Ben Bernanke: Bail Bondsman
The Fed has been busier than your office NCAA tournament pool this week. On Sunday, it helped bail out Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC) by guaranteeing $30 billion in questionable loans to facilitate a buyout and avert a bankruptcy.

The Fed also exacted a pair of rate cuts -- an emergency cut on Sunday and a larger move on Tuesday -- to get financial markets moving again.

Poor Bernanke -- he really walked into a hornet's nest. It seems as if half of the country believes he is slashing rates too quickly, while the other half's blaming him for acting too slow. Am I the only one who thinks that he's doing the best he can with the poor economic hand he was dealt?

It's probably too early to start thinking Halloween costumes, but I may as well begin piecing my Bernanke outfit together. No one seems to epitomize "trick or treat" like this guy.

Briefly in the news
Here's a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week:

  • Visa (NYSE: V) went public on Wednesday, generating proceeds of nearly $18 billion. If you think that's a lot, think about what it left on the table. The stock was priced at $44, but popped 35% higher to open at $59.50. I wonder if I could have used my credit card to get in on that IPO?
  • In news that you just can't make up, parent Monster Worldwide (Nasdaq: MNST) announced that operating expenses would come in higher than analysts had expected, partly because of an ongoing restructuring plan that includes workforce reductions. Am I the only one noting the irony of a leading job-hunting site announcing layoffs?
  • Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) issued a long-term outlook that calls for operating cash flow to nearly double in three years. The company also expects to grow overall market share in the online ad market -- a particularly bold claim, since its 2008 guidance finds it heading in the opposite direction. That makes it hard to get excited about for 2009 and 2010, especially from a company whose long-term vision has been questionable at best.
  • Tempur-Pedic (NYSE: TPX) is in trouble, judging by this week's warning that current-quarter sales will fall by 20% and earnings will plummet 50%. So much for the high-end mattress maker giving its shareholders a good night's sleep.
  • BMC Software (NYSE: BMC) is buying Blade Logic (Nasdaq: BLOG), a deal that will make the BLOG ticker symbol available. I'm picturing privately held blogging-software companies like Wordpress and Six Apart getting giddy about going public to snag the ticker symbol.

Until next week, I remain,
Rick Munarriz

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.