Friday, March 30, 2012
OK, last Zimmerman post for a while.
As you know, George is currently hanging out at my place. Right now he's on the couch, playing with our dog, and watching Megyn Kelly on FoxNews. The body armor doesn't seem to bother the pooch and isn't effecting George's ability to toss the chew toy in any way. So as far as our dog is concerned, God is in his heaven and all is right with the world.
I don't really have all that much to add to what I've said on this topic except this:
If you google the title of this post you'll see that most people don't really think George was racially motivated at all. At least, most on the internet don't. Among TV news crews and CBC members I'm sure it's a different story. But this has begun to take on the invented feel of media generation - like when they blamed the guy who shot Gabrielle Giffords on Sarah Palin's election advertising.
Another thing you'll notice is that among the people who do think George is a racist, they think he's "OBVIOUSLY" a racist. They have no evidence to support this view, and aren't interested in acquiring any. They've jumped to their conclusions and that's enough for them. Most are individuals with the same intellectual clarity as Cynthia McKinney, the lucidity of Maxine Waters, and the moral compass of Al Sharpton. I don't think anyone is taking them seriously who doesn't have a buck to make on this.
Net on net, I think that's really great. I think it's evidence that you can't fool all of the people all of the time. At least not any more you can't. The leftists media has clearly lost control of this message and the facts are starting to matter. That can only be good for George. And it's good for the rest of us too. The less America takes on the emotional patina of Liberia, the better it is for all of us.
Especially black Americans. Maybe they don't realize it yet, but when they empower a loser like that dope from the New Black Panthers, it hurts them far more than he will ever hurt a middle aged white guy like me. I'll put up a taller fence, and send my kids to private school. While they'll be stuck in the same ghetto they always were. But it will be run by a guy who is far more fast and loose with the law than the current system.
In other words, if I were a black man living in Florida, lynch mobs are the very last thing I'd want to see come back into style.
This is too awesome to excerpt because I won't be able to do it justice. You have to go read the whole thing. It's a wonderful distillation of the way that Liberals ignore their own faults, flaws, and inconsistencies while amplifying those of conservatives.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Since there are things going on in the world other than the combination witch-hunt/Lynch mob search for George Zimmerman, I wanted to discuss this.
I once attended a motivational seminar for salespeople that was run by well known car salesman Joe Girard. He was talking about how the staff at Chrysler had brought him in to ask them about their plan to give $1,000 cash to every person who buys a Chrysler. "Give a $1,000 to every salesman who sells a Chrysler and I'll show you a sales increase." he responded.
This plan of Rahm Emanuel's to refurbish Chicago's corroding infrastructure strikes me the same way. He wants to spend 7 Billion dollars to fix things up, and in the process create 30,000 jobs. Give that 7 Billion to private companies looking to turn a profit. Then I'll show you some infrastructure improvement.
But the sad truth is, he doesn't really want the money for that. He wants the money to buy Democrat votes. But you can't simply give people a check for voting so the rest is just a nice side effect. He doesn't care if Chicago burns, so long as it has a Democrat running things when it's over.
It's that way with all Democrats. Obamacare wasn't about healthcare, it was about Democrat lust for power. It was about the desire of some people to utterly boss other people around. It drives everything they do. As far as they're concerned, government business only gets done as a side effect.
One statistic that anti-gun groups don't like to bring up is that most shooting victims, at some level, have it coming. Treyvon Martin didn't. But the vast majority of American shooting victims have criminal records and are engaged in some criminal activity when shot. That obviously doesn't apply to all shooting victims. Many others are just tragic accidents.
I think it's widely agreed that Treyvon Martin didn't deserve to get shot by George Zimmerman. He didn't have it coming. There is absolutely no evidence of any kind that he was a gang banger, or that he was involved in any illegal activity. But based on what I've been able to glean from the various media versions, I don't think George Zimmerman is guilty of a crime either. I think the whole incident is simply a tragedy that went badly. He's how I think it played out:
George saw Treyvon walking down the street. Most crime is committed by teenage men, and black men commit a disproportionate portion of that crime, so whatever Goerge's thoughts on race, he was right to notice Treyvon. Treyvon seemed to be acting suspicions to him so he called 911. About this time Treyvon noticed George taking notice of him. He could have walked up to George and asked him what he wanted, but maybe George's Latino look made him feel a little threatened. Whatever the cause, Treyvon made the decision to run.
This is clearly suspicious behavior. Law abiding people don't usually run. And knowing that, George became more interested in making sure he didn't lose sight of Treyvon. He got out of his car and began following him on foot. He probably should not have done this, and it almost certainly encouraged Treyvon to feel even more threatened. There was nothing illegal about it - but by now both men had made decisions that were less than prudent.
This is when things get very murky. There is some witness testimony but the details of it aren't making it to the media accounts. But it's easy to imagine a circumstance where Treyvon stops running and confronts George. Then we have some shouting and the battle of egos so typical in altercations with young men. Maybe George turns to walk away, maybe he doesn't. Then things get physical, and at one point George ends up on the ground with Treyvon on his chest, pounding his head into the pavement. Witnesses have confirmed this latter point. At some point in the scuffle George's gun is produced; there is more struggle, and Treyvon ends up shot dead.
Alot of the legal case will depend on the minutia. Who threw the first punch? How threatened did George feel with Treyvon on top of him? Had he already turned to walk away when the physical altercation began? Hopefully witnesses can tell us some of this. But having told it to the police, the police decided not to arrest George. So it's reasonable to believe that George at the very least presented a believable story where he acted within the law. His injuries, the grass stains and mud on his back, and the preliminary statement's from witnesses all seem to support it.
There is a saying that an armed society is a polite society. Maybe if Treyvon had been legally carrying a gun also, he wouldn't have felt the need to flee from George staring at him from his car. Maybe if he hadn't run, George wouldn't have been compelled to follow him and the whole thing could have been defused with a chat through a car window. Or maybe the ensuing argument would have been less likely to turn physical and it would have been nothing but shouting until the cops showed up. There are lots of ways it could have played out.
But instead it will end up in court, and the facts will be given a back seat to the political issues of the shooting. On one side will be the entire race mongering industry headed up by Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, the New Black Panther Party, and Eric Holder's "Justice" department - all finding Klan members behind every tree. On the other side will be a Latin kid from Florida who thought he was doing a good deed by watching his neighborhood for criminal activity. Both he and Treyvon made mistakes in judgment, and it's already ended in tragedy. The only question should be whether those mistakes constitute criminal activity.
The facts seem to support George's case under Florida law. But that doesn't change the politics. Unless he's convicted of something there is going to be a riot. The black community desperately need this shooting to be about racism, whether that was George's motivation or not. As far as I can tell, George's motivations are irrelevant to the facts of the case or his guilt or innocence. But the media and the race mongers don't care about that. They want this kid strung up even if they have to do it themselves.
I don't think Treyvon deserved to get shot. I think it's tragic his life was ended in this way. But based on what I've seen and heard, I don't think George Zimmerman has done anything wrong either. And following up one tragic accident with another politically motivated retribution, would be a mistake.
Those interested in the obvious white supremacist views of George Zimmerman might want to have a look at this backgrounder by that bastion of right wing propaganday, the LA Times:
How Trayvon Martin gunman aided neighbor after a break-in
Thanks to friend of this blog and frequent commenter Hell_is_like_Newark for finding this one.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
According to Rich Lowry, people have been trying to analyze the George Zimmerman 911 recording like it's a modern day Zapruder film. Clever turn of phrase.
But the thing they're looking for isn't a second gunman on the grassy knoll. We know who shot who. What they're looking for is reference to a racial epithet so out of date that I haven't heard it since the 80's and I don't think I've heard anyone under the age of 70 say it ... ever. If he really did say it, we're told by the race mongers that this should stand as evidence that George, whose Latino look would certainly disqualify him for Klan membership, really was a racist after all.
So the big question is, did George say "f**ing C**ns" or did he say something more like "It's f**ing Cold"?
Just from what I know of people, I'd really have to bet on the latter. Even if you were the kind of person to say that sort of thing, why in the world would you be so stupid as to say it to the 911 operator? Even racists (particularly Latino racists with a number of friends of every race) surely must know that it doesn't go over well in court right?
More and more this is sounding like the racial slurs shouted at Nancy Pelosi and the CBC as they marched through the crowd of anti-Obamacare activists to go sign the bill into to law. In other words, I don't think his racial slur actually exists. I think it's just another case of the racialist lobby hearing what they want to hear.
I myself am not a racist. But like most white people, I have been accused of it. In fact, I've been accused of it pretty much constantly for the last 40 years. Every time I say that blacks should be treated the same as the rest of us I'm accused of it. Every time I make a point for a colorblind society I'm accused of it.
But that does not change the fact that I am not a racist. It simply isn't a motivation for me. There is no secret code - no "implied racism". Those are all inventions of the modern intelligencia desperate to preserve the favoritism that they can generate by using racism as an excuse.
But to me, those continued accusations only convey that there are people who can't live with the fact that institutional racism has already been defeated, and their lives still sucks.
So maybe it's possible that racism was never the cause of their problems in the first place.
Liberals believe that 'justice' is defined by consensus. They believe that if something is popular it is therefore also 'moral'. This is what gives rise to their idea of public demonstrations as a means to affect social change.
I'm all for freedom of speech - even obnoxious, rhyming, public speech. But I'm of the opinion that as soon a a demonstration turns violent (as liberal demonstrations often do) then it's perfectly appropriate for the authorities to respond with violence to disperse the crowd and protect private property.
Nothing stops a riot like live ammunition.
But this video is the kind of thing you get when you extend that concept of 'mob justice' to it's inevitable end. He's openly calling for people to engage in an act of violent restraint against a man who has broken no law. In fact, he's insisting that the law be thrown away in favor of his view of 'justice'.
He's no doubt being left alone because it's a political hot button issue. But I personally think it's a mistake to leave him walking free. Maybe Zimmerman broke the law and maybe he didn't. But this guy obviously has. If you don't arrest him, the next guy will offer a million dollars for "the body of" some guy who he thinks is guilty. Then we'll have real problems.
Personally I'm disgusted that he's not rotting in a cell. And if the authorities don't arrest him ASAP, I think they will inevitably regret it. Shameless hucksters like Al Sharpton shooting his mouth off about 'white interlopers' have given rise to this guy. What do you imagine this guy is going to give rise to?
The mandate is really just a way for the government to compel healthy people to pay for those people who are less healthy. It's a forced introduction of inefficiency, so even if it were allowed under the constitution, it would still be a bad idea.
It highlights the real problem with progressive vision of America and it's healthcare system. They don't really want to redistribute healthcare. What they really want is to redistribute health.
When they find out that tall guys get all the hot girls, they'll want to redistribute that as well.
ripped off from Zerohedge
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I don't mean to overstate this, but given how important my attorney friends and acquaintances all think this is, I think it's entirely possible that Chief Justice John Roberts may end up being the man who saved America.
Today is the day we bid farewell (but not goodbye) to our close friend and former coworker Rob P. who has been promoted to a new position at his firms HQ in greater Chicago. He and his family make their final departure for the windy city today. It's easy to make ally's in the finance business, but much harder to make genuine friends. Lucky for me Rob has turned out to be both.
He'll be back in NY from time to time as business demands it, and my own travels will take me through Chicago now and then so it won't be so hard for the two if us to stay in touch. But I'll miss having him close enough to depend on, and we'll miss having his wife and kids so close as well. It's been really great having them all nearby.
Speaking for all those who have come to know both Rob and Jane, Chicago's gain is clearly NY's loss. We wish you all the very best.
And in the meantime, try to remember these helpful words:
"God loves a working man."
"Don't trust Whitey."
"And if you get something, see a doctor and get rid of it."
All the best buddy.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Some of you may recall that a while back I suggested that the job of VP would be perfect for Newt Gingrich, allowing him to make the most of his strengths and minimize the damage of his weaknesses. When I posted the piece I wrote on the topic on conservative forum Freerepublic, I was immediately pronounced insufficiently faithful to conservative principles, and called (among many other insulting things) "useless liberal Yankee".
They pulled the piece of course, unwilling to face ideas they disagree with - even conservative ideas. And until then they stuck to the view that I was really just a liberal plant designed to wear down their resolve and lure them to the dark side. Well Freerepublic must be ready to burst into flames today because someone else has suggested that Gingrich might be a good potential VP. His name?
So to all you A-holes on Freerepublic who had all sorts of nasty things to say about me at the time, you should try to remember that focusing on winning doesn't make someone a traitor. It's been obvious for weeks to anyone with an IQ above their age that Romney would be the nominee. But you still chose to ban all discussion of it, and to "take your ball and go home" rather than face facts. This was stupid, and it not only hurt your forum but it hurt the conservative movement by excluding your worthwhile members from the discussion.
Romney isn't my favorite nominee any more than all of yours, but you fight the war with the Army you have. And tearing that Army down uselessly to console your own vanity does no one any good. That's what Freerepublic has been doing for weeks now. Cutting off it's nose and ears to spite it's face. The result was ugly and stupid and focused on a pure failure rather than a compromised victory.
And on a personal note, for all you idiot FR people who seem to think there aren't any 'real conservatives" up here in the blue states let me say this:
It's easy to be a conservative in rural Oklahoma or Idaho where everyone else is just like you. But try living in a place where it's unpopular, like I and many of my friends do. Try sticking to your principles when the union workmen hired to repair your hurricane damage trash your house instead - just because they don't like the Gadsen Flag on your front porch and want to 'teach you a lesson'. Let's see you be a 'real conservative' when your neighbors call the cops on your 11 year old daughter for playing in the front yard with her friend, because they know that you're "one of those crazy tea party people" so the kids must be up to something suspicious. Try coping with the thousand nasty petty ways that liberals screw with conservative in areas where they know they're a majority. Then you can give me crap about how pure my heart is.
It's easy to to talk tough when it doesn't cost you anything. Try being a conservative in NJ where it costs you every day. Then we'll see how tough you are.
Since we aren't going to be worrying about legal niceties any more in Obama's transformed America, I'd like to put out a $10,000 reward for the "apprehension" of former SEIU head Andy Stern. Has he committed some crime? None that I know of. But I don't care for the guy's politics and I think America would be much better off if he was forced to spend his time hiding from a gang of reward seeking rednecks than advising the Obama Whitehouse on domestic policy.
The New Black Panther Party has put a similar "Reward" on the head of George Zimmerman, the Florida youth who according to police reports, shot Treyvon Martin in self defense last month. So what's the difference between my reward on the head of Andy Stern and the NBPP reward on George Zimmerman? Well for starters, my reward doesn't specify "Dead or Alive" like the NBPP offer initially did. But more important, George Zimmerman isn't a Washington power player - he's just a Latino kid from central Florida with no juice whatsoever. Among other things, that makes him easy pickings for the racial hucksters looking to gain power by threatening him.
Andy Stern though IS a Washington power player, so before the Secret Service and Eric Holders thoroughly racialized justice department have to incur the expense of tracking me down and arresting me, let me say that I'm only kidding about the bounty on Andy Stern's head. I only said it to prove a point, and would not like to go to federal prison.
But this then begs the question - If I would go to prison for putting a bounty on Andy Stern (and I don't think anyone doubts that I would), why aren't the heads of the New Black Panther Party being arrested as well? Is this the kind of thing Obama was promising when he said he would 'radically transform' America? Did he mean that if you are black or a political ally of the people in power then you can ignore the law as you see fit, while if you are not, you had better watch yourself? Did he mean he would finally empower those racially motivated radical groups that would turn America into a new Liberia if they had the chance?
NO? then why aren't those guys being arrested?
Based on the 'evidence' from Florida, it's entirely possible that this whole shooting mess was simply a tragic mistake. Zimmerman suspected Martin, Martin suspected Zimmerman, things got physical, then they got out of hand, and Martin ended up dead. That's a shame, but it does not automatically mean that Zimmerman acted outside the law. He might have - I don't know. I only know what I read in the press and that's been designed to distort the issue, not cast light on it.
But as it stands he has not been charged with any crime. And since that's so, I have to believe that offering a $10,000 Reward for his 'apprehension' is an illegal act. So the leaders of the NBPP should all be arrested.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Sometimes the news shouldn't be left to newsmen. This particular brain dead drone is the same guy who telegraphed his political sentiments to us when he told us all that the markets were rallying because they were hopeful of an Obama reelection. (Everyone I know laughs out loud when I repeat that story.)
He obviously doesn't have even a CNBC newsman's understanding of how markets really work. If you ask me I think he would probably be better suited to the food service, or housekeeping industries. So let me correct him. Apply did not 'flash crash'. A flash crash is a very specific kind of failure, but to this idiot it's like "A bubble". He thinks those words don't actually have a real meaning.
What really happened with Apple was a 'bad print' otherwise referred to as a 'fat finger'. It wasn't driven by program trading, or as a result of some systemic HF trading risk, like an actual 'flash crash". It was just someone making a mistake. They fixed it and Apple went right back to trading.
This is one of those circumstances where the guy should have kept his mouth shut and left us wondering if he was an idiot, instead of opening and removing all doubt.
Latin kid on the left kills the black kid on the right. "It must finally be racism!" say our 'social justice' arbiters. Alert Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, and Barak Obama. Get them down to Florida to demand JUSTICE!!! Immediately repeal the second amendment!!!
"It's the 60's all over again!!!" say the progressives, in the hope that this time it REALLY IS like the 60's all over again.
The Hyperbole is getting really deep really fast here. Clearly the best thing to do would be to cool off the situation and get to the facts. I read a few accounts that make this seem on the surface like the shooter might have been guilty of a crime, but having Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and Obama getting involved isn't going to make getting the truth any easier.
I don't personally know the facts... but the Dharun Ravi verdict notwithstanding, I do know that the law should still have at least a little something to do with them. If the kid is guilty I'll cheer as loud as anyone when the string him up. But I don't think it should be Al, Louis and Barry who decide.
I was at the range a few weeks ago with an attorney friend and between stations we were chatting about this and that. He is of the stated opinion (state right here on this blog in fact) that the Obamacare case which is about to be heard, is arguably the most important case in... I don't want to misquote him... I'm sure he'll speak up for himself. But he more or less said that it's a Super BIG deal - the Thunderdome of legal battles. (We were actually talking about NJ gun law when it came up.)
Knowing next to nothing about the practice of law, all I had to offer in response was a quip which I ripped off from Roy Cohn, the Machiavellian attorney involved in Joseph McCarthy's investigations into communist activity:
“I don't want to know what the law is, I want to know who the judge is.” he's credited as saying. That's how NJ law seems to be to me, and I don't think the the Federal courts are much different.
Charles Krauthammer seems to agree with me. He seems to think that Obamacare will be a 5-4 decision, and that it will inevitably depend on what side of the bed justice Kennedy gets out on. But being who he is, in the process he makes a number of excellent points of logic - as if anyone cares about that sort of thing.
They're fun to read anyway.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
I’ve always seen the political opinions of liberals as a form of self validation. “I’m a good person because I care about racism/the environment/gay sex/illegal immigrants/the poor etc. But in truth they don’t really care about any of those things. What they care about is what ‘saying they care’ about those things tells others about them. They really only ‘care’ about making others see them in a more favorable light.
So when it comes time to draft policy to address the problems that they ‘care’ about, they consistently choose options which are less likely to solve the problems at question, and more likely to allow the solver to feel better about themselves. This is an all but universal phenomenon. It’s a rare liberal ‘solution’ that actually solves anything.
But for me, the key has always been that self validation. It always seemed to me that if you could find a way to explain the consequences of their policy choices in a way that didn’t involve making them feeling defensive or threatened, then you might be able to get through them somehow.
Every time I’ve tried I ended up sounding like I was explaining particle physics to a 10 year old, and very often they only ended up clinging to their original views in spite of any evidence offered. That insecurity can be awfully resistant to reason. But I always figured that it was me – that if I was smart enough about how I phrased things and careful enough about the delivery, then there might be a way for at least some liberals to open their minds.
So far, that hasn’t been the case. So far, the only people I’ve ever met who were persuaded by reason in any amount were conservatives. And at this point I’m beginning to think that it might forever be thus. Liberals simply aren’t persuaded by facts – they find them to be immaterial to the question at hand.
Sentiment is important to them, and they are persuaded by that. Scream into their face that you think they’re a horrible disgusting person for denying those poor starving Japanese fishermen a livelihood by protecting the whales and they’ll find that persuasive. But until the majority of the people they know are doing the same thing to them, they won’t actually change their mind.
That’s the real key to liberal “thinking”. For them, every question is decided exclusively on what will optimize their perceived popularity in the context of their overwhelming personal insecurity. “What will make me feel like a good person, and in the process make others think I’m a good person too?” And it’s that question which transmits their views to the broader group in the form of an expectation of their behavior. Liberals assume that since they are only making decision to placate their egos, that everyone else is always doing the same. So if liberalism is a mental illness, this is how it’s spread.
To those of us who are un-phased by the opinion strangers hold of us or have conquered our insecurities, that’s exactly what Liberalism looks like – a mental illness. The fact that liberals are only protecting their egos is apparent to us, even at a distance. They seem to us like children who haven’t quite managed to mature to adulthood, and still need the approval of a parent. The only difference is that instead of a parent, they expect that reinforcement from the mob other liberals.
But the reverse is absolutely not true. Liberals don’t understand conservative at all. Since our opinions aren’t a product of insecurity, we are as foreign to liberals as a tiger would be to a tuna. The very framework of the conservative mind operates on dimensions that are beyond the ken of liberals, because they don’t involve placating the ego in any way. To a liberal this is as unheard of as breathing underwater.
As conservatives we all know this. It’s really no big deal. But to liberals I could write this in Mandarin and it would communicate the principle just as effectively. Every time I’ve tried, it’s been like talking to the wall. But apparently some guy has written a book which takes another shot at it.
I’m betting liberals ignore it.
Matawan Aberdeen Middle School (the town where I used to get the train to NYC every day) has banned hugging.
The real problem is that in NJ the only people we have working in the public school systems are the mental deficients who couldn't get real jobs.
Remember back when Ben Bernanke was a still a political neophyte? He was a thoughtful academic thrust into the slam bang, fast lane, laugh in the face of death, spit in the eye of disaster world of high finance, and was still innocent enough to be surprised by things that looked obvious to we more hardened and jaded professionals – things like the way Barclays asked for a guarantee to buy Lehman like the one that JPMorgan got when they bough Bear, for example.
Anyway, those days of the doe eyed and innocent college professor are now clearly behind us. Let me explain.
Ben Bernanke has said that he will be using ‘sterilized’ dollars for any further asset purchases. What that means is that the size of the Fed’s balance sheet won’t be expanding any further because for every dollar of long term debt he buys in the open market in an effort to suppress interest rates, he will be issuing an equivalent dollar in 28 day notes. For every dollar he lends, he will be borrowing a dollar – so it all equals out. No more “printing” of money.
But the Fed never “printed” any money. When they increased the money supply they did so by lending it into existence through the overnight lending facility available to member banks. So the real difference between Sterilized and Unsterilized QE is the same as the difference between the overnight rate and the rate the Fed will have to pay on its 28 day notes. The math here gets a little tricky, so let me see if I can work it through. With rates in the short term at zero, the actual impact of the ‘sterilization process will be … hmmm… carry the decimal place….. uumm…. Here it is: Zero.
But in the meantime our elected officials and journalists – admittedly not the sharpest tools is the shed, have all heard ‘sterilized’ so everything is all OK. Compare that to Bernanke’s behavior in heat of the 2008 crisis, this is very sophisticated stuff. Brilliant in fact. It’s precisely the kind of three card monte that they so love in DC.
The long term plan is for the Fed to buy mortgages from the Fannie and Freddie (who still need an annual bailout to stay solvent). And this will untie his hands to do that very thing. Very crafty.
Mark Steyn documents the way those brave French journalists took time out from their moral preening, to get down on their knees and surrender to Muslim sensibilities. And the Muslims don't even have an army.
If the Muslims in France weren't such losers, they could put together a 'protest march', go through the Arch De Triumph, seize control of the government and make the whole thing official. But theirs is a problem only of organization, while the French news media has a problem of will.
Because of the peculiarities of my job, I know a lot of journalists and people in News production. Apart from conservative opinion journalists (who aren't really journalists in my mind) I've never met one who who was anything except a whiny coward. They fight back only against those people they know won't hit them. They're like 8 year old's who will only hit girls.
The details of the story for me underlines the irrationality of the single most puzzling and contradictory political creature on the earth - the Anti-Gun Jew. I meet them frequently - my next door neighbor is one. And I always tell them the same thing (usually to their horrified surprise). I say:
"Do what you want, but there aren't a billion people to there who want to kill all the Irish Catholics."
Using the kind of logic that is typical for a liberal NYTimes columnist, Gail Collins argues that all the recent success the NRA has had in rolling back unconstitutional restrictions on "the right to keep and bear" is the perfect justification for .... wait for it.... you know it's coming.... A nationwide restriction on concealed carry.
I read the Times opinion page (at least the titles) every day. And I often wonder how someone as obviously dim and reactionary as Gail Collins manages to hold her own there. She doesn't seem to do much thinking (or if she does, she certainly doesn't write about any of it) - just a lot of liberal kvetching. This nonsense is typical for her.
And so goes the NYTimes subscription rates.
LOL... In the debate section, at least this guy comes right out and says what all liberals everywhere are always thinking:
Racism Is The Problem Here
If I ask my wife to make me a cup of coffee and add "not to much creamer" we will no doubt both here my 11 year old daughter scream "RACIST!" from the next room. When 11 year old girls think your deepest held political views are so funny, maybe it's time to take another look at cause and effect.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The Whitehouse defends their positions on green energy investment, and continuing to feed the teacher's unions with what will eventually become recirculated campaign funds...Jay Carney:
"You have to be aggressively and deliberately ignorant of the world economy not to know and understand that clean energy technologies are going to play a huge role in the 21st century,"
Carney said after decrying the clean energy spending cuts in Ryan's plan.
"You have to have severely diminished capacity to understand what drives economic growth in industrialized countries in this century if you do not understand that education is the key that unlocks the door to prosperity,"
What an idiot.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, you have to not only be aggressively ignorant but also completely Machiavellian in your lust for power to believe that allowing the government to choose which energy sources are best for the future of America will end in anything but ruin. Team Obama has made it perfectly clear that they have absolutely no idea how the energy economy works and that they are incapable of putting taxpayer dollars to good use on that score.
What an arrogant tool this guy is.
Now that Michael Walsh has generated this Corner Post, I don't think there is anything left to say about the principles of the 2012 election. He's really said it all:
...we once crossed the Plains in covered wagons and braved the rounding of Cape Horn and now we forbid our kids to play on jungle gyms or sell lemonade without a license. The issue is not that we can’t do it, we won’t do it; the suicide cult that is the modern American Left won’t allow it, so devoted is it to the expiation of the sin of its own existence.
If I wanted to do it justice I'd have to exceprt every word. It's got it all. Societal suicide cult, reference to media bias, disgust with the center... everything.
Seriously... I'm done here. We can now focus on other topics until Halloween.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Charles Murray Arguing that the Liberty that the founders advocated amounted to a civic religion, and we're losing it.
And the subsequent discussion:
The thing I find most compelling is Miss noname from the "Center for American Progress" says that she has problems with the methodology but doesn't name them, and then thinks that the entire discussion needs to be premised first on the (undocumented) success of progressive liberalism in the Roosevelt administration. This is the kind of working backward from the desired conclusion that continues to pass for serious thinking among Liberals. And what's worse, she does this even though Murray clearly says (and the Canadian academic even mentions that he read it in the book jacket) that it's not a book about causes or solutions, only a documentation of the state of society.
There are several reasons I think this will be entertaining.
The very first, and it's not insignificant, is that it's nearly 1,000 miles from my house. If it were happening in Newark or Camden, I'd probably find it much less fun - but still probably a little.
The city of Detroit is an endpoint. It's where union dominated liberalism leads if you don't resist it. The businesses that are still viable have all fled to where they get to run things without the interference of third parties. And the twisted and broken things that remain aren't companies anymore in the capitalist sense. They are all parasitic creatures which still manage to survive only by presenting themselves as purveyors of a 'social good'. They endure only by leaching taxpayer funds from a manipulated government.
The whole place is a basket case. And I think it's going to be a very useful example to the rest of America. We on the right will be able to point to it and say to all of our own liberal idiots, "Stop it right now or you'll end up like Detroit."
It's going to be an interesting test case for the "preppers" also.
Like Brazil, there may be police "no-go" areas in Detroit city, but contrary to the "prepper's" fears, it's not going to lead to wholesale rioting in the suburbs. That's not how group violence works. When society's break down, things become more local not less. And although I think things will darken, they won't do so uniformly. The worst areas will become unlivable, the bad areas will worsen, and the best areas will hardly notice. The head of GM will still fly in and out in his corporate jet.
All of that will be fun for me too. and the reason it will be fun for me is to be perfectly frank, Detroit could be swallowed whole by Lake Erie and I couldn't care less.
(I didn't look very carefully, so if the photo above actually turns out to be the remnants of the Singer Sewing Machine Factory in Elizabeth NJ, please don't be upset. I think it would only underline the broader point.)
The Tennessee medical student who inadvertently tried to check her gun at the 9-11 memorial and was arrested by NY police?
She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor weapons charge.
I don't think so.
The same as I said with the Bush girls, And Clinton and Carter's kids. They're under 18... leave em alone.
It's another story entirely once they're 'adults'. Then they're fair game as far as I'm concerned. But a 13 year old girl should not be forced to bear any responsibility for the actions of her father.
For all his faults (and you know I think they are many) I get the impression Obama is actively engaged in parenting. He's certainly much more engaged in it than most black men in America. I admire and respect the effort he puts into it, and I think the press should leave his daughters alone.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Like I said....but for taxpayer funded subsidies the entire Green Energy Industry would disappear like Brigadoon.
First Solar Inc gets roughly $33 Million in Taxpayer money for selling Solar Panels to... itself.
Stay Classy San Diego...
TV weatherman sues station for favoring "unqualified attractive women".
As a guy who spends all day watching CNBC, I'd say things would be improved considerably if they hired only unqualified attractive women. Because at least then they would be attractive women.
I went to college with a guy who (I was reliably informed by a girl who dated him) was a heterosexual who like to dress in women's clothing ala infamous Movie director Ed Wood. He looked an awful lot like this guy.
I'm just sayin.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
When you consider the record of the Obama administration there is a question that I think is valid, but certainly won't be addressed by the media.
There really isn't any debate that our present fiscal trajectory will end in misery, the only real question is 'When'. And yet, under Obama, there are more plans for more (what I would certainly call wasteful) spending and more growth stifling regulation at virtually every level of government. You get more EPA, more FCC, more... frankly everything. Put a set of letters together at random and there is probably a government office which uses that anagram and is presently drafting a permit process that applies to everyone.
So what can be in the man's head? Is he imaging, like those tie dyed liberals of yore, that he can simply cut defense spending, raise taxes on the rich and everything will be OK? Surely someone in the Whitehouse must have the math skills to work that one through and explain that it won't. So what then does he imagine the plan is? Which of the rapidly and dramatically increasing functions of government does he imagine we can dispense with one day, and when exactly will that day arrive?
The analogy is a little overcooked, but suppose you're heading for the cliff. And let's say further, to be fair about the political viability of cutting entitlement spending, that your brake line has been cut. There are a list of 'reasonable' things which you could try that may be unlikely to help, but at least won't hurt. You could try the handbrake or maybe you could put the car in a lower gear. Or you could try scraping the side of the car against a guard rail or something to slow it by friction. You could even try dragging your feet out the door Barney Rubble style and it probably won't makes things much worse.
But you can't slam on the gas. You can't flap your arms in the air or change the radio station. You can't redo the car's interior or plan to get premium gas instead of regular at your next trip to the gas station. Well actually, you can do all those things, but they won't help. For all the good you'll be doing, you'll more or less be pretending that the problem doesn't really exist. That's what Obama is doing.
Taxpayer funded "green energy projects"/"campaign contribution scams" were never going to help things. Funneling money through the labor unions and then back to PAC's and ACORN weren't either. Strengthening the EPA, HUD and nationalizing the medical industry won't do a thing to prevent the inevitable, they'll only make things worse. So how can it possibly be that he thinks these are good things to do?
I think it's fair question to ask if it's just his short sightedness. Short sightedness is completely institutionalized into liberal thinking anyway, so that is probably adding to the problem. It's even worse among liberal politicians because they're all filled right to the brim with a lust for power and can't usually see past the next election.
But even with all that, it's hard to believe that the Democrats at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue get up every day, look at our current fiscal trajectory and say "Yes please give me a whole big bunch more of that!" You can't spend double the amount you expected by accident.
Barring some other rational explanation then, you have to assume that Obama is one of three possible things:
1. He's the stupidest man ever elected President.
2. He's just bat $hit crazy.
3. He's intentionally trying to destroy this country in the hope that a new and better country will rise Phoenix like from it's ashes.
When trying to determine what's motivating people, my experience tells me to stick with the most likely things. There are lots of crazy people out there (particularly among liberals) and there are plenty who want to give socialism (say it with me now) "One More Chance". But I think the truth is, he and the people that report to him are simply incompetent.
Although..."simply" incompetent really understates it. I think they're incompetent on an all but incomprehensible scale - a level of ineptitude that is galactic in scope. It would take entire universes of knowledge just to make a meaningful dent in the void that is created by their wrongheadedness. They are to ordinary incompetence (precisely) as the American average annual wage is to the national debt. It's so massively huge that most people simply can't comprehend a level of uselessness so stratospheric.
I think when they look at the rapidly approaching fiscal abyss, it never occurs to them that it will REALLY be the end of us or that the things they're doing are making it noticeably worse. I think they're so fundamentally mistaken about how the real world works that they think that gravity is optional, and at the last minute they're going to save the day by passing a law against it.
I mentioned a few weeks back the most chilling statement I've ever heard from a politician. Angela Merkel said that the EU needed to reestablish the "primacy of politics over markets". Well on our side of the pond through TARP and the annual Freddie Fannie bailouts, they've already mastered that. Now they simply need to establish the primacy of politics over mathematics, and as far as they're concerned we'll be all set.
One thing that's becoming perfectly clear to me in this debate about the health care mandate is that it's really a battle between two different sets of beliefs. The biggest difference is that the Catholic church doesn't have any interest in forcing you to do it their way, and the state has no tool for motivation except force. Support the church in their resistance and it will be up to you how to live your life. Support the government view, and your only choice will be to live your life as you're commanded.
The left doesn't seem to understand that the central tenant of Christianity is individual 'choice'. They call it "free will" but it means precisely the same thing. What you individually choose is what determines your status as a moral or immoral person. If you take away that choice then the central component of the question is changed from "Are you a good or bad person?" to "Are you an obedient slave or a disobedient one?" One can argue the virtues of obedience, but only an idiot would argue that it's the same thing.
The left will argue that this is about 'access to abortion' but it really isn't. It's really about access to a individual choice about abortion.
If you decide that abortion is a wonderful thing and want to get one, the Catholic church will tell you that you are a bad person. They may (although it's unlikely) tell you that you can no longer call yourself a Catholic. They may tell you that you need to regret your act and perform some penance before you can be welcomed back as a member of their community. But they won't command you to pay a fine. They won't send armed men to your house and throw you in jail for not paying it. All they will do is tell you that you've been bad, and leave it up to you to redeem yourself. That's how the Catholic church works.
But if you decide that killing a baby before it's born is the same thing as killing it afterward, and that you therefore don't want to participate in that killing... then it's a totally different story. Under the new mandate if you refuse the will of the state, then they will give you a new HUGE fine. If you refuse to pay that they will send armed men to your house and throw you in jail. And if at that point you continue to resist their commands, then you face the same violent consequences as any other criminal. That's how the state works. It is the arbiter of force. The 'command' is all it knows.
I've met a lot of people who disagree with Catholicism and many who disagree with Christianity as well. But I've met very few who don't broadly subscribe to the basic morality of the Judeo-Christian world. We all (virtually all) think that people should be guided by their conscience. If a Jew or Muslim owns a restaurant and refuses to serve pork, we don't object. We allow them to define how their acts can be kept within the limits of their conscience.
The Catholic church is only trying to do the same. They aren't arguing for a ban on abortion. They aren't saying no one should be allowed to get one. They have no commands for anyone else at all. All they have is the request that they not be forced to participate financially in something to which they object. And you don't have to agree with their objection to agree that it should be their option to act within their conscience and the teachings of their faith.
But the progressives that run our government take a very different religious view. For them, the State is the church, and there should be no authority for anyone that is higher than that. They believe the commands of the State should be adopted universally by every citizen, regardless of what their individual conscience tells them. That's what the word "mandate" means. Ordering, and if necessary physically forcing the citizenry to obey the commands of State is the central component of their beliefs. To them you not only have no choice, it would be immoral to give you one. Their contract with the citizen doesn't say "We'll tell you what we think and you do as your conscience dictates". When taken to its natural end their contract says says: "Anything which isn't mandatory is forbidden." This mandate is the beginning of the 'mandatory' part.
So you can choose your beliefs. If you believe that everyone should be given a choice in how to live their lives then you should support the Catholic view of the health care mandate, even if you disagree with the morality of the Catholic church and it's view of abortion.
But if you believe that it would be better to have a nation of orderly and obedient slaves than the disordered moral chaos of leaving so much up to each individual, then you should support the government view instead.
Friday, March 16, 2012
The Gay Lobby has their gotten their blood:
Dharun Ravi convicted on All Counts in Rutgers Suicide Case.
As they flail about in an effort to find news ways to appropriate the wealth of their citizens, the Connecticut Legislature is following the example of that economic dynamo, the state of California, and is pondering a 'Digital Download Tax':
The bill, proposed by the General Assembly's Finance, Review and Bonding Committee, would have consumers pay the 6.35% sales tax on any electronic transfer.
Supporters say the bill would level the playing field for brick-and-mortar retailers in the state who are already required to charge Connecticut sales tax to consumers who purchase these products in their stores.
Let's be serious. The legislature doesn't care a bit about 'leveling the playing field'. They have redistribution plans and that takes dough. That's all they really care about.
It's just one more way to pick the pockets of North Greenwich, and give a portion of the loot to their 'bought men' in Bridgeport and the other corruption sink holes. They have a lot in common with NJ in that respect.
Blaming high gas prices on speculators is like blaming traffic accidents on steering wheels. Speculators don't define energy policy. They don't set the regulation. They don't set drilling moratoriums or ban pipelines. They don't project an image of weakness for our unreliable allies and unpredictable foes in the energy producing parts of the world. All speculators do is take the market where the driver of those things tells them to.
The smart way to handle speculators is to make them work for you rather than against you. If Team Obama would simply adopt policies which would really lead to lower gas prices, speculators would be more than happy to react to that by driving prices down. It's happened with natural gas, and it could happen with oil too.
But instead, he adopts policies which make his enviro-nut supporters happy. He throws wasted tax payer dollars at the green energy boondoggles that are supported by his contributors. He pretends that he knows better than the market which technologies will win and which will lose - as if the only people who REALLY understand the energy market work in government.
Speculators see all that, and react to it. But they're agnostic. They would be happy to send prices lower if Obama would simply give them a reason to. But Barry don't play that. That's not how Barry rolls. He'd rather keep the decision making where it will do him the most good, instead of letting that power go to the people who have to buy gasoline.
Fair enough. But be a man and live with the consequences of that. Don't blame the car for running off the road into a ditch. The car is working fine. The sad truth is, you just don't know how to drive it.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
This story reminds me of a little piece of my family history that I think is worthwhile telling. You readers who know me may have heard me tell it before.
I've said that I was raised by hard men. Well it's true. Some of them fight for a living, and the rest do it as a hobby. We're a damned hard bunch in every way. This is an example.
A while back there was a family picnic that included much of my extended family on my father's side. It was held at the rural home of one of my cousins. There was Beer, BBQ... I'm sure you all know the drill. Fairly low rent but who need foie gras anyway? There was lots of laughing, and arguing and the like... normal blue collar family stuff.
The host, my cousin's husband Jeff, had been around the extended family forever. He was married to one of my older cousins and looks like a cross between an Allman brother and something from a ZZTop video. Most people who saw him coming would probably cross the street. But once you got past his terrifying appearance, he had a reputation in the family as a very sweet guy. He was very much 'one of us'.
Anyway, prior to the party, one of the kids had taken to raising a few rabbits (for a 4H thing or something, I don't really recall) and the experiment had gotten a little unruly. So they had a cage in the yard with a rapidly increasing number of rabbits inside. There were enough of them that they were beginning to forget the names for them all.
When the discussion worked it's way around to the cage, one of my cousins said out loud that he had never had rabbit meat and he wondered what it tastes like. So Jeff took a few steps from the grill, reached into the cage, grabbed a smaller bunny by the ears and whacked it hard against the picnic table breaking it's neck. Cups and plates bounced a little from the impact.
Then as horrified party goers and their children all watched wide eyed, he took his knife from his belt with an expert hand, and in just a few seconds and with only a few short flicks of his wrist, he skinned it, gutted it and tossed the cleaned carcass onto the grill next to the hamburgers and hotdogs. The whole process was done in a single smooth motion that took less than a minute. The meat never had a chance to get cold. There was a moment of shocked silence followed by some groans and berating of Jeff. But after just a minute the party went on exactly as before.
And the bunny got eaten.
These are my people. Hard people.
Just a little story to help you know who you're talking to here.
Lots of people Hate Goldman. It's the fashionable thing to do both on Wall Street and 'Main street' (wherever that is... the 'Main Street' construct is really just a BS setup designed by politicians to make it easier to hate Wall Street... but I digress.)
The fact is, everyone hates Goldman. They are a winner, and everyone hates a winner, especially the left. If someone invented a cure for cancer after an ultra-high risk multi-Trillion dollar investment, and then built a business to recover some of their costs, the left would call them a villain. "It should be free!" they would exclaim as they organized a protest march around their office. "Hey Hey, Ho Ho, making money from curing Cancer has got to go!". Idiots.
But it's not just the left - hating Goldman is very fashionable across the political spectrum. I, on the other hand, am notoriously un-fashionable. I don't hate Goldman. And the reason I don't, is that I both understand how Wall Street works, and don't subscribe to the sentiments that make other Wall Street insiders hate them. Let me explain.
The first instance of Goldman hate I ever heard was from a salesman on the commodity trading desk at JPMorgan. He had just lost a substantial deal that he thought he had locked up to his opposite number on the Goldman Trading desk. Of course in the grand scheme of things, the Goldman guy had lost more trades to him than the other way around. But that didn't stop him from being angry. when he said "F*** Goldman", he didn't mean anything by it really. It was just a verbalization of his frustrations of the moment.
But that was at JPMorgan, arguably Goldman's peer on Wall Street. (The fact that I'm a JPMorgan Alum is probably why I don't view them with the same inferiority complex that others do.) Both are considered the "top of the top" among the tier one firms so Goldman hate is more rare there. The place where you really see Goldman hate is one step down the ladder at the tier two firms. These are still big well known names, but they lose business to Goldman all the time. For them it's a much more pervasive problem. Saying "F*** Goldman" is a day to day thing at those places, and in some cases its even ingrained in the culture of the firm. (Ask a guy who runs a trading desk at a tier two firm what he thinks of Goldman and you'll see what I mean.)
So even among insiders, hating Goldman is fashionable. But here's the thing you don't really hear as an outsider. When we say it, we don't really mean it. The sell side competitors all know that with the very rare exception, Goldman isn't doing anything that they wouldn't do themselves if they could - that they're probably trying to do right now. Take those very same guys who are saying 'F*** Goldman" and offer them an equivalent job at Goldman with a fast track to the next promotion and they'll all jump at the chance. Their ego tells them that the only way Goldman can be beating them so often is if they cheat - but that's hardly evidence. And deep down, most of those guys know the truth even if they can't admit it. The real reason they lose so often to Goldman is that Goldman is simply better at it (whatever "IT" is) than they are.
For Wall Street insiders it's a great unspoken secret that:
"They don't really hate Goldman... they really just want to be Goldman."
For Wall Street outsiders it's a different story. They don't know as much about Goldman but they do know two things:
1. They are an elite firm - a consistent winner in a highly competitive industry.
2. Everyone else hates them.
When the CNBC reporters ask guys at UBS or Barclays or Credit Suisse what they think of Goldman, they don't realize that what they're hearing is really just envy. Much of what drives a modern journalist is envy anyway, so they have a hard time EVER recognizing it. But in this regard, what they do see is yet another 'broad allegation' of wrongdoing by Goldman, and they assume that where there is smoke there's fire. How can this be true? Think about it. No one has specific allegations against Goldman. There are no ongoing investigations into Goldman's activities (at least none that don't involve an indictment of the entire Wall Street business model and that involve other banks). All there really is are bunches of unsupported vapor like the Vampire Squid reference or criticism of their press releases and Lloyd Blankfein's hairline. But there are no direct charges. No direct criminal accusations. Nothing of substance.
There are people out there who have a problem with the entire business model of Wall Street, and because Goldman is a leader in the industry, they hold them up for specific criticism. Some of those concerns may be valid, while others certainly are not. But Goldman's only sin in that regard, is being better at it than their peers. I've heard no one assert that Goldman plays by a different set of rules than the rest of Wall Street - no one who can be take seriously anyway. (I think both Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan have made claims to the contrary - but I discount them out of hand.)
If you really want to see a bank that has close ties to government, the bank to look at is not Goldman but Citicorp. But for the government Citicorp wouldn't exist. It's a business which is an 'also ran' on its best day and is staffed and run with the same level of excellence and efficiency as any government bureau. Government is deeply involved in the day to day decision making at Citi and their business success has responded accordingly.
Or to go even further, Fannie and Freddie are in effect Banks which ARE run by the government. They are so poorly managed that they continue to need annual bailouts, even while they pay outsized bonuses to their staff. Fannie, Freddie and Citicorp are the Chrysler and GM of the banking world while Goldman Sachs is more like Toyota. Toyota builds non-union plants in 'right to work' states, contrary to the interests of those in Washington. They build a product which is arguably better than their competitors and they run their business more efficiently. That's why they win. But I'm sure if you go to Detroit, or to the halls of the UAW, you'll hear F*** Toyota at least as often as you hear F*** Goldman, on Wall Street.
As for 'third world cronyism in banking, I think it's even more pervasive in other industries. The entire green energy industry would vanish like brigadoon but for crony capitalism. Much of what happens in the agriculture industry happens because someone 's lobbyist managed to get a few more dollars out of congress for this subsidy and that. And don't even get me started on how military dollars are allocated. If you have a problem with Crony Capitalism Goldman Sachs should be WAY down on your list of people to crucify. The point is, you don't get to the top in a competitive industry like Banking by getting government deeply involved in your business. Quite the contrary, if anything, you might say that Goldman is better at getting the government 'out' of their business.
A commenter on this piece called giving so many people the title of VP was "Deceptive", but it really isn't. It's just the tradition that's grown up on Wall Street. I don't know where it started but Vice President at a Wall Street bank has always been a less lofty role than in other industries. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because the people they are selling things to in the smaller banks really are Vice Presidents, and they wanted their salespeople to have an equivalent role.
Most Wall Street firms start their new 'Trading' employees as "Analyst" (I think a few go with Associate) then Vice President (with some firms inserting an Associate VP or Assistant VP in between) then to Director, and then Managing director who is typically in charge of a department of the firm. There are Senior VP's and Senior Managing Directors, as well as some Executive Directors depending on the specifics, but the Analyst-VP-Director-MD transition represents the broad brush strokes. And to get a promotion from Senior Managing Director you have to get a position with a C in it... CIO, COO, CFO, CEO. My last job on the Sell side was as a "Director", but I've never been invited to or attended a single board meeting.
Goldman has also been criticized because it's alleged that someone called their customers idiots (Muppets). Well another secret that the media is failing to report (probably because they don't understand it) is that all the sales guys at the big banks think many of their customers are idiots. Conversely, most of us on the buy side (the customers) think many of the sell side guys are all idiots as well. The reason for this is that in trading there is a reward for being contrarian so it tends to breed an element of "I'm right and all of you are wrong!" among EVERYONE that holds a job involving trading decisions. It's more pervasive among those who are successful at it - maybe because compared to them, most people really are idiots. It really does just go with the territory. Most of us are content to let our P&L be the final authority on who really is or really isn't an idiot.
The fact is, people hate Goldman because they envy their success, and they hate a winner. (I personally think there is an element of anti-Semitism in it too, but you'll never get anyone to admit that.) Beyond that though, the very act of trying to determine if Goldman is one of the good guys or bad guys is a mistake that buys into the central premise of the imbecile left. There are good guys and bad guys in every firm, and although there is no telling dopes like Matt Taibbi this, a firm isn't evil just because it's successful. It usually provides a more accurate picture to ask why the person accusing Goldman of this or that would have some 'other' reason for hating them.
I've worked for firms that refused to do any business with Goldman. This was usually due to some specific policy or practice. On one occasion there was a personalty issue. These can happen in any business. I know even more people who refuse to work with BA/Merrill Lynch because they're a wire house that isn't really designed to cater to the hedge fund world. They have dozens of more specific policies they can site, but no one cares because it's not fashionable to hate BA/ML.
I'm not a Goldman guy. As I said, I'm a JPMorgan alum, and I don't do any business with Goldman (although I have in the past). I have a few friends there in Director and MD roles, but not doing business with them regularly... you lose touch. It's been a few years years since I've spoken to any of them. My point is, I'm not lining my pockets or building good will. I'm just telling it like I see it. And what I see is that Goldman is just the leader in an industry that's become very fashionable to hate. That's really all there is to see here.
I just watched some idiot PR guy on CNBC that the producers invited in to 'advise Goldman' on what they should do in response to the letter. He spouted all sorts of idiotic nonsense about how "denial isn't just a river in Egypt" and claiming that they lost 2Bliion dollars because of yesterday's OpEd. This is all nonsense. If you could really control Goldman Stock just by writing an OpEd, the Times would run one every day. There were a lot of things going on in the banks yesterday, and the whine of Greg Smith is just a small part.
My advise for Goldman is the exact opposite. Ignore it publicly, and continue to run your business. You have no retail customers, and your institutional customers see the letter for what it is. They see all these PR people who have wriggled out from under the rocks of NJ for a few minutes of screen time on CNBC for what they are too.
If you really have a credibility problem address it with your customers, not the media. They can stomp their feet and threaten to hold their breath but at the end of the day, you don't owe those A-holes a thing. F*** CNBC.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Greg Smith is resigning from Goldman Sachs and in the process confirming every dark liberal fantasy about how Wall Street works and what it does.
It's been a while since I've been on the sell side, but I can still see this guy coming a mile off. I don't know him at all. But it's obvious that he's lost some internal political war and made the determination that he'd be better off leaving in a big public way than trying to tough it out a little longer. Maybe he's changing firms, or maybe he's looking for a gig on MSNBC, working on a book, and he thinks an OpEd would be an opener for him into the media world. Like I said, I don't know him. But I do know that no one who is capable of success on Wall Street writes an OpEd trashing their employer unless the bridge is already burned.
My first job on the JPMorgan trading floor was working on the exotic swaps desk in NY. Swaps were still a new thing back then, and we dealt in Swaptions, knock-ins, knock-outs, step functions and the various permutations of the probabilistic swaps market.
Although it's quite a way back in the mists of time, I can still recall a situation where we determined that one client - a municipality - had put on it's positions in such a convoluted way that if rates went up they paid us a lot, if they went down they paid us even more, and if they stayed the same they paid us a little. These were just hedges so the numbers weren't very big, and we had responded only to customer requests so it wasn't our fault - it's what the client did to themselves. But since they had lost track of their positions, they had put themselves in a spot where there was literally no way for them to win.
We explained this to the MD in charge and he ordered us to inform the client of the situation and to unwind which ever two of the three risk components they wanted us to. "They may go broke" he said "but they aren't going to go broke because of us." We argued that they may have positions with other firms offsetting the positions with us (and in fact they did) but it meant nothing to the boss. He was insistent. And it was a good thing too. The client was Orange County California, and just a few weeks later, they declared bankruptcy - and did it with no help from us.
The point is, a Sell Side firm and their clients have aligned interests, but the bank doesn't control them. They never did. It's even more true for this guy where his clients are professional investors, than it was for me. And in an environment like the one we have today where Wall Street is being systematically vilified by politicians and 'fellow travelers' like the NYTimes editorial board, it's probably going to be even more true. Goldman is no different from JPMorgan in that regard.
This guy says that it's testimony to how important he was that he appeared in the recruiting video. To me that only says that he has one of those interesting and worldly sounding South African accents. We all used to fight like hell to avoid recruiting work because you don't make the firm any money doing it. And if you don't make money for the firm then you don't get promoted and you don't get paid. That's the real culture of the Sell side - always has been. And I think that probably points to Greg Smith's real problems at Goldman.
Whatever industry you're in, I'm sure you've seen people who lose political battles and are forced to leave because the tide turns too strongly against him. That's what this guy sounds like to me. He has no specific allegations and names no names. He doesn't even have the 'evil' corollary to my story where he was told to ignore the client's interest and focus on profitability. All he has is a general feeling about the culture of the firm, and an instinct that his political sun is setting. But that's enough for him to trash Goldman and the rest of the industry on his way out the door.
The big banks aren't saints. They never were. But to believe a story like Greg Smith's is to indulge in a fantasy that benefits no one. I'm quite sure that he's written this piece because he thinks it will help him. He believes it's opening up his options. He's going to be a hero to the left of course, but he's no hero. He's a guy who can't take his loss like a man and move on like the rest of us do. He's not the first guy to be where he is.
Already a spoof: Why I left The Empire By Darth Vader
I'm sure someone is already working on the subtitles for when Hitler learns of Gregg's departure from the Third Reich.
%%%%%%%%%%UPDATE #2 %%%%%%%%%%%%%
A person familiar with the matter said Mr. Smith’s role is actually vice president, a relatively junior position held by thousands of Goldman employees around the world. And Mr. Smith is the only employee in the derivatives business that he heads, this person said.
Apparently there is a reason I don't know the guy. Twelve Years as a VP in charge of a one man department is not exactly a fast tracker.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Obama Polls worse with women after the Mandate Battle:
During the first few days of February, about a week before Obama declared a so-called “accommodation” to the contraception/abortifacient mandate, a Washington Post/ABC poll showed Obama’s approval rating at 50 percent, with 46 percent of Americans disapproving.
Then, from March 7 to 10–a week into the national media firestorm surrounding Rush Limbaugh’s degrading remarks about Georgetown Law student and liberal activist Sandra Fluke–Washington Post/ABC conducted another poll. It found Obama’s approval rating at 46 percent, down four points from February, and his disapproval rating at 50 percent, up four points from February.
I think more than anything else this is an alternative media issue. Feminazi's have pulled out all the stops and put on a complete wall to wall media blitz on this issue. It included distortions, hyperbole and gross misrepresentation of the issue and of the position of their opponents. They tried everything they could to frame this as a republican "war On Women" when it's really about a government mandate and religious liberty. They even had an OpEd from Jane Fonda demanding censorship of Rush Limbaugh. They were out their with their fists held angrily aloft in sisterhood, partying like it was 1974.
But ... Ooops... it's not actually 1974 and women have long ago figured them out. They have realized that the pro abortion lobby doesn't actually speak for them. So even with the full court media blitz, women remain (at the very least) unpersuaded.
I guess we should all be thanking Al Gore for inventing the internet.
(While we're at it, let's thank him for global warning and this lovely if unseasonable warm patch.)
This is the dumbest idea I've ever seen. If it's real, it was conceived on a Hollywood backlot for use exclusively on idiot shoot em up movies. I can't imagine an actual firearm use where I would say to myself "Gee this is nice, I just wish I had another barrel, twice the recoil, and twice the cost." or "If only that target had another hole in it about 3/4 of an inch to left of the hole I just put in it."
Seriously... I think it's a spoof. If it isn't, I'm shorting the company that built the stupid thing.
I was at the range this weekend with a friend who is thinking about buying his first handgun. He's shot my PX4 .45, and my wife's XD9, but he had it in his head that he'd prefer to buy a smaller gun that would better fit his hand.
Deciding on a pistol is a very complicated thing - much more complicated than deciding on a shotgun. And while I can't possibly solve this problem for my friend, I thought I'd toss out a few considerations just to help him (and whoever else) along a bit. Rather than make his choices, I'm just trying to lay out the dimensions of the trade-offs he'll inevitably have to consider. But first, a caveat.
There is something about the firearms community which breeds "know it all's"... I don't know why. You'll meet lots of people who will tell you that "this gun is better than that gun" or "Anyone who doesn't buy X is an idiot".
I hate those guys.
The truth is, firearms selection is about trade-offs, and no one knows the trade-offs you're willing to make better than you do. Once you are well informed enough to understand what you're getting vs. what you're giving up, only you can decide what will be 'the right gun' for you.
With that said, popular guns - that is to say, popular models and popular calibers - are all popular for a reason. That's where most people have decided that the best value is. The Glock 17 in 9mm Luger is America's most popular handgun. Unless there is something about you that is very unusual, that's probably a good place to start. In the end though, selecting a handgun is your choice, and that choice has to reflect your concerns not someone else.
Like most things firearm related, the first thing you should decide is what you're going to do with it. If you're going to shoot it occasionally for fun that one issue. Maybe it means you don't want to spend too much. If you're going to get into competitive shooting it's another where cost should be a secondary concern to accuracy. If you plan on leaving it in your bedside table and almost never shooting it that's another consideration, and might send you to a revolver instead of an automatic. These are just a few of the things you should consider first.
But there are other considerations too. A small gun is better for concealed carry, but a small gun is usually also a smaller caliber so it won't have much in the way of stopping power. A smaller gun with a larger bullet solves the concealment and stopping power issues, but it does it at the cost of recoil - which means a gun that's potentially painful to shoot, and therefore difficult to shoot well. A gun with some rare European caliber might be that unique solution to your ballistics concerns, but the bullets might be so expensive that you can never afford to shoot it. A small gun with a common small caliber bullet might 'fit' you better, but there are small guns which are much more painful to shoot than larger ones because they weigh so little.
The point is, there are tradeoffs. It's a very subjective decision to weigh the various issues to meet your personal needs. Don't believe the guy that says he knows 'exactly' what's best for you, and never trust the opinion of the salesman on the other side of the counter. Gather as much information as you can first, and then make up your own mind. But toward that end, here are some things I think will serve as broad guidelines to help you understand the scope of your decision.
They say the second scariest sound in the world is the sound of a gun going off, and the scariest sound in the world is the sound of a gun 'not' going off. So the most important consideration when it comes to a home defense handgun is that it is highly reliable and goes BANG when you want it to. You want nothing in its design or manufacture that will reduce the odds of that happening.
Many people lean toward revolvers in a home defense handgun for just that reason. Semi-auto's have springs which will compress over time, eventually making them less reliable without proper maintenance. A revolver though, is a proven design that is well known for its long term reliability. It's perfectly suited to sit in a drawer untouched for as long as you need it to, and be as reliable as the day it was made when you do.
I've heard people ask "Well a revolver only holds 5 or 6 rounds... what if I need more?" It seems to me that if someone is so determined to attack you that they're willing to ignore the first 5 shots and keep coming, I'm not sure a gun is going to solve your problem. At the very least you should be shooting a shotgun at them, which is my preferred home defense firearm anyway. But if that really is a concern with a revolver... that's why god made speed loaders.
A home defense gun is something you should be competent and comfortable shooting. Within that limit though, I am of the opinion that bigger is almost always better for home defense. If I knew I didn't have to worry about the weight of carrying the gun around all the time I'd go with a caliber that has as much 'stopping power' as I could shoot well and manage effectively. (This is a highly controversial opinion with many dimensions in itself, which I will bring up again below.)
What 'stopping power' refers to is broadly related to caliber. As a general rule a bullet with a large cross section will have more 'stopping power' than a bullet with a small one, which may have higher overall energy but go right through. A .44 or .45 caliber would usually (but not always) deliver more stopping power than a .38 or .380. But it doesn't mean anything if you don't hit what you're shooting.
So the second consideration with a home defense gun, although it's a very very close second, is that you be able to practice with it often enough to be able to shoot it well. By far the most important factor in any shooting situation is where you put the bullet - more important that the size of the bullet your shooting. A little .22 rim fire in the spine will debilitate an intruder much better than a 44 magnum in the elbow. So be prepared to practice enough to become a competent shooter with that particular gun.
Pistol shooting is much more difficult than the non-shooter ever imagines. They see Bruce Willis, with his car in a power slide, shooting out the passenger window and knocking the gun out of the hand of the man on the top of the bell tower 1/4 mile away, and think that it's easy to hit what you aim at. Nothing could be further from the truth. I've seen a number of brand new shooters empty entire magazines into a 2 foot wide target 7 paces away and miss with every shot. If my life were on the line against an armed intruder, I'd want to do better than that.
A Concealed Carry Gun:
NJ is a state which has a procedural ban on concealed carry of firearms, so there are probably better people to get advice on this issue than me. But I do know a number of policemen who never go unarmed, so let me relate a few of their concerns. The very first thing they complain about is weight. A big heavy gun is a pain to carry and it's difficult to properly conceal. the fact of the matter is, if it's too uncomfortable you will find excuses not to bring the gun with you, and when you need it ... it won't be there. So a small and light gun is better for concealed carry. But if a circumstance arises that you need it to protect yourself, the threat will already be VERY close to you. That makes an issue like 'stopping power' important, which points you back toward a bigger firearm.
Gun makers have put some thought into this conundrum and have recently come up with a new class of firearm which seems to be an excellent trade-off for many people struggling to solve it. In recent years we've seen a dramatic rise in the popularity of a class of guns called the "ultra-compact 9mm". These are guns that fire a full sized 9mm Luger cartridge, but are thin enough, small enough, and light enough to easily conceal. Kahr, Kel-Tec, Beretta, Sig Sauer, Ruger and others all have guns in this class.
There are a great many people that will tell you that a 9mm Luger isn't big enough for a self defense situation. That may be true, but the claim is highly debated. The military and FBI have invested huge energy into researching the issue, but the bulk of the results remain inconclusive. We do know that a .44 magnum will have better 'stopping power' than a .22 rim fire, but much more depends on shot placement, bullet type (either hollow point or FMJ) and other specifics of the situation.
So a balance must be struck between bullet size where generally larger is better, and firearm size where generally smaller and lighter is easier to conceal. The popularity of the ultra-compact 9mm's leads me to believe that these are a good starting point. Be aware though, while there are small difference between one make and another, as a rule these small 9mm's are not guns which are particularly comfortable to shoot. They are high powered and light which means they have comparatively high felt recoil.
My personal favorite in this bunch is the Diamondback DB9. It's not the best known gun or the best looking, but it's the lightest, the thinnest, and is also the only one which will fit into the hip pocket of my Levi's 501's. Because of its very light weight It's harder to shoot than many of the others, but I'm a little more recoil tolerant than most so it fits the bill for me. I don't think it would be a good first choice for a novice relative to the others above.
With that said though, a concealed carry pistol is a very subjective thing so you really need to make the call on your own. Look yourself. Do your research. And then the next time you're in Florida or Texas, or Pennsylvania (or another state which allows such things) go to a gun range to rent one to see how it feels to you.
An "All of the Above" gun:
This is such a broad topic that it's almost difficult to discuss it rationally, let along help you decide on a gun. But there are a few issues I haven't mentioned which add dimensions to your choice, and you might want to consider if you want one gun to do all everything with.
For starters, those small guns while good for concealment, are not 'range guns'. Even for people with lots of experience they can be painful to shoot. Most have double action triggers which are safer to carry but make them too inaccurate for competitive shooting. And to be honest, most simply aren't designed to be reliable after shooting tens of thousands of rounds at the range. Many have parts that need to be replaced after just a few thousand rounds, and a frequent shooter can go through that much in a few months. So to do 'all of the above' you'll probably want a full sized firearm. It can still be smaller - there are compact version of full sized guns that will work. But in my opinion, the ultra-compacts are really a specialty item.
Going with a full sized handgun opens up the calibers a bit too, but the more you shoot, the more the cost of ammo will matter to you. There is an axiom that a resistance movement should shoot the weapons of its enemy because when you need ammo, it's just lying around on the ground next to the dead guys. There is a similar dynamic with regard to ammo cost. With rifle cartridges it's a general rule that the bigger it is, the more it costs. While that's generally true with regard to pistols as well, it's not an absolute rule. A .380 cartridge is smaller than a 9mm Luger, but costs considerably more. A .30RF is so rare you need to buy them by the individual bullet and are usually available only at gun shows.
If ammo cost is a concern, then there is nothing cheaper than a 22RF. But that's such a small caliber that it really isn't appropriate for any kind of self defense or home defense situation. It's great for target practice - particularly with someone who is just learning to shoot. But as an "all of the above" solution, I don't think it really works. The 9mm Luger is in the middle of the range of pistol calibers. It's the most popular pistol caliber in the country and the favorite of our military, so for an 'all in' solution, I think it's probably the best place to start.
There are other design issues too. There is the revolver/semi-auto debate of course, but there is also 'double action' vs. 'single action' trigger which I mentioned briefly above.
A double action trigger is one that pulls the hammer back as you squeeze, eventually reaching the point where it's released and the bullet is fired. This is safer to have in your pocket, but it's harder to shoot accurately. A single action trigger is more precise and need less 'squeezing', but all other safety issues being equal, it's generally considered to be less safe. There are even some guns (like my PX4 for instance) which are 'double action' on the first shot, and 'single action' with each subsequent shot. I like that solution, but since it involves learning to expect a your trigger to behave differently after the first shot, there are reasons for the novice to avoid this as well.
All of these thoughts as well as the safety style (Glock style, side switch, half cock hammers, or some combination of the above) all need to be considered. The variations are countless and beyond the scope of this piece. But a little research will show you literally thousands of articles which weight the benefits and liabilities of each of them. Google is your friend.
And although I believe this should be subordinate to any issues of function, there is a question of aesthetics. A red car drives the same as a white one, but it can make a very different impression on others. It may make you feel different driving it. There is nothing wrong with preferring one gun over another simply because of how it looks. I personally think you should decide on functionality first (I think most people would agree) , but having resolved those issues there is really no reason why you can't buy a nice shiny stainless steel version of the gun you like over a simply matte black version if you are willing to pay for it. Don't make it a first concern, but you should like the way your gun looks if that makes you feel better about shooting it. There is nothing to be embarrassed about in that regard.
The truth is, buying a handgun is like buying a pair of shoes. There are so many issues to consider that it's not really possible for someone else to do it for you. But I think the issues I raise here will give you an idea of the various dimensions of your decision. Bigger is better, except when it's worse. Smaller is better, unless it isn't. Looser is cheaper or more reliable, but less accurate. More accurate can be costly, and maybe more finicky. It really depends on you. You don't want to be the one to show up at the wedding in your work boots or at the marathon starting line in something made of patent leather. Decide what you'll be doing with it first, and go from there.