Friday, September 19, 2014

Does Not Follow

Since we are on the subject of the media's pathetic obsessions, CALPERS recent decision to ditch all of their hedge fund investments has stirred up the predictable pot shots at hedge funds  (fortunately, sans the Freudian projection...)

Let's not rehash the active vs. passive investing smackdown yet again.  But riddle me this...

We know that government is woefully deficient at most things it undertakes.  Furthermore, we know that CALPERS is a particularly egregious example of the characteristics that make government terrible at what it does (i.e. patronage staffing, massive bureaucracy, poor incentives).  A simpleton could have predicted that CALPERS would turn out to be terrible at investing in hedge funds, and,  alas, they were.  How is this evidence that hedge funds stink?

Hedge funds may indeed be a scam, a raw deal and the root of all evil, but the fact that California's pension bureaucracy sucks at what it does is not evidence of anything other than that government bureaucracies suck.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Told Ya' So

So, Mark Levin agrees with me that we have overt and deliberate insubordination by military brass.

Dangerous and dicey situation.  Yet we deserve it, we elected and re-elected a deleterious force to American safety, security and life.

The Left's Pathetic Obsession With Football

Noah Rothman over at HotAir outlines what he feels is the Left's "War on Football."  Read it, it's good.  I don't disagree with much of it, although I think it's less of a "war" than a Gramscian march through the institutions.  The NFL, in my view, is succumbing to Conquest's Second Rule of Politics.
Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.
One could argue that the Left really need do nothing, football will destroy itself ala Conquest.  Although one could also argue that football's demise is not meeting with the Left's preferred timetable and, alas, needs aggressive treatment. 

The Left, you see, has always been going after football.  Check out this recent cover of Time...



and check out this 1965 issue of Esquire




The Left's obsessions really are pathetic.

Aside...the cover headline reads "Heaven help him - he's about to play 60 minutes of pro ball."  Wait, I thought prayer and sports were to be unquestionably separated as an egregious affront to all that is decent...?  Not only are the Left's obsessions pathetic, but it's just too damn hard to keep up with their schtick.  (Truly it is.)

Maybe Kerry Should Try Bribery, Coercion, Extortion, etc

Benny Avni of the NY Post accurately claims that the "coalition" that Lightworker Man has assembled is Potemkin bullshit.  Yet, he passes up the opportunity to skewer John Kerry, as this was the man who derided George W. Bush's actual, real coalition as the "coalition of the bribed and coerced and the bought." 

There is much to be said about our atrocious Secretary of State, but suffice it to say that, if you believe this accusation, at least GWB and his State Department were effective at doing.  Kerry, it would seem, can't form a coalition either through persuasion or coercion.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Crisis Management at the NFL Created a Worse Problem

The NFL has been sucked into the maw of the Political Correctness Twilight Zone where nothing escapes punishment, where you cannot win no matter what you do.

Think of the crazy position they are in now - they are in crisis mode to appease a group of people that are marginal at best to their interests - women (yes, I said it, women are marginal to the economics and standing of the NFL).  The primary victim in the touchstone scandal - Janay Rice - is pleading for her privacy and for this all to go away, and yet the NFL is bowing to the domestic abuse furies putatively in the interests of this woman and all women. 

Such are the dynamics of Political Correctness in America today, you are forced into an illogical and untenable position.  The NFL could have avoided this by taking a bold stance on one of the two sides, either a)  we have zero tolerance for domestic abuse, therefore Ray Rice (and whoever else) is banned from the league for life, no appeals, or b) we are not moral arbiters, we are an entertainment business and our employees' personal lives are their own; crimes will be referred to the justice system, but we don't adjudicate behavior.

I don't know which position is the better one, but either one would be clear and unequivocal, and thus defensible in a pluralistic society.  Instead they find themselves in the murky middle trying to assuage and muddle through with no strong position against their attackers and no strong stance in favor of their interests.

Such are wages of bowing to the gods of Political Correctness in America.

Not "Death Panels" but "Overhauling End-of-Life Care"...

Oh, but that idiot Sarah Palin is an idiot for saying "death panels"...

See if you can spot all the euphemisms for "letting old people die and not using up our healthcare dollars" in this gibberish...
The country’s system for handling end-of-life care is largely broken and should be overhauled at almost every level, a national panel concluded in a report released on Wednesday.
“The bottom line is the health care system is poorly designed to meet the needs of patients near the end of life,” said David M. Walker, a Republican and a former United States comptroller general, who was a co-chairman of the panel. “The current system is geared towards doing more, more, more, and that system by definition is not necessarily consistent with what patients want and is also more costly.”
But some recommendations, like changing the reimbursement structure so that Medicare would pay for home health services instead of emphasizing hospital care, and so Medicaid would have better coverage of long-term care for the frail elderly, would require congressional action. 
It calls for a “major reorientation and restructuring of Medicare, Medicaid and other health care delivery programs” and the elimination of “perverse financial incentives” that encourage expensive hospital procedures while growing numbers of very sick and very old patients want low-tech services like home health care and pain management
You see, those damn old and sick people take up hospital beds and doctors' time when they could be at home, drugged-up, with one of those useless home healthcare professionals (ever talked to your average home healthcare professional?).

Hey, here is a radical idea, why not let patients decide what they want...expensive hospital-based healthcare or home healthcare and "pain management" (perhaps my favorite healthcare euphemism!). 

And why does healthcare have to be a "system", why is it not a marketplace, a series of capabilities and options available to people based on their preferences and choices???

Top General Contradicts Obama

Pretty much all news outlets this morning are reporting one version or another of this headline,
"Top military official opens door to ground troops in ISIS fight, despite Obama pledge".

While this is not a full-blown rebellion, in the world of Washington DC and big-time military politics, this is a significant instance of insubordination.

Now, I predicted something along these lines, although a tad more conspiratorial.  My general theme was that there was significant dislike, to put it mildly, of Obama among top military brass.  (I'm not talking just a handful of generals, but a pervasive resentment and distaste for Obama's worldview among the highest echelons of the military.)  With that background, I said that if Obama chose to ignore a SIGNIFICANT threat to the US or looked to be making a CATASTROPHIC blunder in decision-making, that there would be insubordination to some degree or another by the generals.  Here were my exact words:
I have heard, through my sources who don't talk loosely or lightly, some pretty outlandish speculation that there are those inclined within high US military command that could (not intent but inclined, not would but could, as in depending, maybe, and I'm hedging 'til the cows come home here) deploy US military assets in assistance to Israel in the absence of such a command from President Obama. Yes, it is crazy but the danger is so great, the implications so vast, and the viewpoints so at odds that, well, who knows. One source has even told me that in such a scenario, the US military would act and give Obama the opportunity to say he went along after the fact so as to keep civil order here at home and preserve the appearance of legality.
That was a significant speculation (but informed speculation), and I was talking about war between Israel and Iran; but, the point holds - in the event of a significant threat and the likely event of a catastrophic non-decision by Obama, the military could go a tad rogue.  Were Obama to be highly unpopular, as he is now, such a course of action by the military would be much easier to pull off.

Is this what is going on?  We have the Islamic State, which appears to be as significant a threat as we've seen in a while; we have an unpopular POTUS who has clearly chosen to do the bare minimum to address the threat...hmmmm....

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Putin Takes Down Another Billionaire

Who knows what the inside baseball is here, either a) he got uppity, or b) Putin just wants his oil company.

Chevron: Algae Is a Bust

Chevron:  Remember all that happy talk and money we spent on R&D for "alternatives" like algae? 

Yeah, that was a bust.
The second-largest U.S. oil company by market value spent “significant sums” and assigned some of its best scientists to evaluate more than 100 kinds of feedstock and 50 techniques for converting them into fuels without success, Chevron Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Watson said today in remarks prepared for an Economic Club of Minnesota lunch in Minneapolis.
“The smartest minds in my company and others haven’t yet cracked the code on pairing the right feedstock conversion technology and logistics in an economic and scalable package,” Watson said.

RG3 Should "Rozelle" Goodell

Although a life-long pro football fan, I'm giving less and less of a crap about the NFL everyday.  And none of it has to do with the antics of Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson or whoever the miscreant of the day is.  It's the unrelenting drive to appease the forces of political correctness that irks me, this being just the latest example

Contemplate that the NFL recent tribulations stem from going easy on a domestic abuser, and yet here they are suppressing a harmless, and arguably uplifting, message of religious faith.  Some say the NFL has an image problem.  Hey, want an easy, costless way to improve that image on the margin?  Let a decent, nice guy like RG3 where his Jesus T-shirt.  This is not the first time that the NFL was supine in the face of the progressive desire to expunge religious expression in the public sphere.  Sorry to say that the NFL deserves its troubles.

And, while my neighbor Roger Goodell is by all accounts a good fellow and a more competent executive than not, he deserves the "Rozelle headband" treatment on this one.  Fortunately for him RG3 is classier individual than Jim McMahon.

Staying Away in Droves

There are so many levels of awesomeness in this, I don't know where to begin. 

OK, not really.  Let's begin with the fact that it is a well-deserved embarrassment for the Lightworker.  So delicious.

Second, it vindicates what I've been saying about the rest of the world not buying the global warmist silliness, especially the Chinese and the Indians.  I wonder what Thomas Freidman has to say now about the wonderful marriage of China's authoritarianism can-doism with its beneficent concern for our cherished mother planet.

Thirdly, it vindicates my ultimate contention that global warming is dead.

Fourthly, it sends a hopeful message that world leaders are actually focused on the real problems that we face - terrorism and unstable regions/nations - and not phony crusades aimed at increasing government power.

Bastardize Math and We Will REALLY See Decline

No, no, no

Math is what keeps planes from falling out of the sky, math keeps the lights on, keeps things from blowing up, keeps food on your table, keeps drinkable water flowing into your home.  Bastardize the liberal arts and your get dopey policy and insufferable youth cohorts, bastardize math and you have physical decay of our standard of living.

Fiscal Update

I have been and am still bearish on the fiscal health of the USA, but I have long brought to your attention, dear readers, the much more optimistic take of Scott Grannis, whose viewpoint should probably be taken a lot more seriously than mine.  Here is his latest view.

Again, this is a deficit view, and it can be seen as optimistic.  My pessimism follows from a debt perspective.  The fiscal obligations of the federal government as they stand today cannot be paid, and thus won't.  So, while the deficit picture is brightening, the reality is that we are adding half a trillion dollars on top of what is effective insolvency - not good.  Obligations will be expunged trough default of one form or another, likely inflation.

BTW, a $500 billion structural deficit is atrocious.  Barack Obama has inured us to such outrageous fiscal profligacy - five years of $1 trillion+ deficits, that we actually look upon a mere $500 billion as OK.  Just another example of the accelerated pace of destruction that Lightworker has put us on.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Europe Continues Its Retreat from Warmist Agenda

My prediction:
those in thrall to the religion of climate change will wake up; expect Europe to drastically improve its competitiveness by jettisoning decades of wrong-headed warmist policy
Just the latest:
European Union leaders announced they will be consolidating energy and environmental goals under a new commissioner, effectively axing the intergovernmental groups’ climate arm as green policies are making it harder for citizens to pay their power bills.
Former Spanish agriculture and environment minister Miguel Arias Canete was tapped by the EU Commission to take over a consolidated energy and climate office. Canete will be replacing Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger in what is seen as a huge blow to Europe’s global warming efforts.
“The EU is signalling a historical shift away from its green priority towards a new focus on economic recovery, competitiveness and energy cost,” Dr. Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Obama Fading: It Was Always Ever Going To Be Thus

It was always ever going to be thus.  I called it many moons ago, although the historical verdict is not quite solidified.
That anybody expected even the most basic level of governance from Obama, let alone monumental and transformative things, is the story of greatest import here. And it is not that the hope, dreams and expectations placed into the Obama vessel were so grand, it is that the vessel that is Obama is so small. I have said it before - in November of '08 I said we bought ourselves a pig in a poke. Later I said that disappointment and pain is what we deserve given that we elected a man of no consequence and no achievement to the highest office in the land. Why we expected a man with no discernable track record or proven record of leadership to lead and to achieve in the name of this massive and complex society is a story of historical proportions.
Glenn Reynolds is more pithy/cheeky.

Environmentalism 90210

So I am reading this Powerline post about environmentalists ("watermelons") where Hayward makes fun of their defensive claim to love capitalism, just "sustainable" capitalism.
There’s an old line that environmentalists are “watermelons”—green on the outside, red on the inside. A lot of environmentalists will take great offense if you say this: No no! We like economic growth and capitalism just fine! We just want it to be “sustainable,” whatever that means.
As I am reading this...truly...I am NOT kidding...I sh*t you not...what comes into my inbox but an invitation to "Sustainatopia 2014" in...wait for it Beverly Hills.  A classic of the genre as all these enviro-nitwits seem to love to convocate in the swankiest of places i.e. Bali, Rio, Beverly Hills, etc.

Hopefully Someday...Putin-free

Line of the day goes to Powerline oft-guestblogger, Ammo Grrrll:
The world is a disturbing place where almost everything is beyond our control. People want to feel they have control over something and, so, obsess over food. It is easier to control gluten than Putin.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Police Militarization Continues Apace

There was an ever so brief interlude of concern over police militarization in the aftermath of the Ferguson, MO rioting.  Good times, good times. 

Anywho...the sheep have fallen back to sleep and we are greeted with these related items today:

1)  The latest owner of a swank MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle) is the San Diego School District.  Homeland Security is saying this is entirely appropriate because during the Boston Marathon, MRAPs deployed there saved lives.  Bullshit.  Not one life was saved by the deployment of military equipment in Boston that day or the days following.

2)  A 70 lbs. teenage girl was wrestled to the ground by three cops for not relinquishing her cell phone to an assistant principal.

3)  All that "used" military equipment that is going to municipalities and local agencies isn't really used, just not needed.

Americans will be concerned about this when the tanks start rolling into your towns to enforce things like Obamacare mandates and spotted owls regulations (no cutting down trees on your own property!!).  In the meantime, back to sleep...RayRiceKardashianGameofThronesFantasyFootball...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New York Pension in Partnership with Goldman Sachs

They told Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds that if he voted for Mitt Romney, hard-working Americans' pension funds would be turned over to Wall St. cronies...and they were right!

New York state’s pension fund is giving Goldman Sachs Asset Management $2 billion to invest in global stocks.
It’s the first time the $180.7 billion fund has formed such a partnership, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the pension’s sole trustee, said today in a statement. In addition to investing the funds with equity managers, the unit of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) will also provide advice across the pension’s remaining $98 billion equity portfolio.

Friday, September 05, 2014

NYC Teachers' Union Bullies Its Own

New York City teachers' union gets a little thuggish with its own. 

And good for those teachers.  Suck it Mulgrew.