Roundup – Interviews in Plants

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Line O’ the Day:

“You might as well know right now, however, that the Tea Party, no matter how successful it is at the polls in November, will certainly betray the party of liberty. There are several reasons for this, but the fundamental one is intellectual. The Tea Party does not have a coherent view of liberty. Its activists tend to be good on specific economic issues like taxes, spending, stimulus, and health care. They worry about government intervention in these areas and can talk a good game.  But just as with old-time conservatives, there are many issues on which the Tea Party tends toward inconsistency. The military and the issue of war is a major one. Many have bought into the line that the greatest threat this country faces domestically is the influx of adherents of Islam; in international politics, they tend to favor belligerence toward any regime that is not a captive of U.S. political control.  On immigration, the Tea Party ethos favors national IDs and draconian impositions on businesses rather than market solutions like cutting welfare. On social and cultural issues, they can be as confused as the Christian right, believing that it is the job of government to right all wrongs and punish sin.  This doesn’t describe them all. A poll taken last spring divides the activists into two camps: Palin and Paul. Both groups are mad as heck at the mainstream Republican party, but only the Paul camp has broadened that anger to the government generally.” – Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr., Prepare to be Betrayed [LRC]

Fire Joe Morgan Day on Deadspin:

EXTRA! EXTRA! Jeter Has Best Year Yet! [Junior]

That’s why the run is such an underrated statistical measure of a player’s value. This is so fucking backwards. When we talk about a “good” baseball statistic, we’re talking about a stat that gives you an accurate representation of how valuable that player is to his team’s success. Many, many smart people have spent years and years figuring out good statistics. Runs — just plain runs — is a terrible statistic. There’s so much goddamn noise in it it’s like a fucking Boredoms record from 1986. Again, smart people have worked to develop stats that remove that noise so we don’t have to just guess. Progress. Advancement of human knowledge. Cars.

Playing Down To Your Audience [Ken Tremendous]

The point is, I don’t really think Mitch Albom gives a shit how many people are playing fantasy baseball. I think he’s writing a faux-populist rant aimed at curmudgeonly 72-year-old people who read Parade magazine and think computers are evil machines that are trying to steal their medicine, because he, Albom, thinks there might be some grandpas out there who have not yet read Five People You Meet in Heaven (there are not) and wants them to put down their Parade magazines and pick up their day-by-day vitamin trays and say, “You know sum’im? That boy understands American values!”

Let’s Welcome Special Guest Bill Conlin As He Helps Me Criticize Bill Conlin [Junior]

[Y]ou just compared Johan Santana to Jamie Moyer and the reason you can even do that and not seem batshit insane is because of wins. Yes, Jamie Moyer has 21 wins the past two seasons. He also has an ERA+ of 86 for both years. Johan Santana has 24 wins the past two years. His ERA+s: 132 and 135. Wins are the devil and you, Bill Conlin, worship at the altar of the devil. You are a devil-worshiper.

Titties Vs. VORP [dak]

The one they’ve brainwashed into bringing their message of Sabremetric supremacy to the world. The Staturian Candidate. Fake Lord in Heaven knows we’ve written an awful lot of terrible, forced puns. (Have you heard of the new Jenna Elfman show where she works at a Goldfish factory? It’s called Snacksidentally on Pepperidge.) So what really is there to say about “The Staturian Candidate” other than: kudos, Jerry Thornton. That is some forced shit.

Is This Normal? [Ken Tremendous]

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake was observed slapping the naked ass of Joe Morgan, a 67-year-old man, who is both a professional broadcaster for a national network and a team executive. This fact is so weird and creepy, to me, that I will to ignore the fact that apparently seconds after this occurred, Leake tried to clock some Giuliani Time with a different gentleman — a teammate, it seems, who, unlike 67-year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Morgan, had the decency to be wearing pants.

Where Were You (/Will You Have Been)? [Ken Tremendous]

You know who sent that message? Jeff Francoeur’s 0.0 WAR. “Fuck you, concept of good baseball!” yelled Jeff Francoeur’s 0.0 WAR, while lighting its $5 million check on fire and using it as a torch to burn down the Mets’ hopes of competing in the NL East.

Reports Of Murray Chass’s Sanity Have Been Greatly Exaggerated [dak]

Yeah, because he’s bad. He’s a bad pitcher on a good team. This is worth writing an article about? This is worth me writing an article about Murray Chass writing an article? Well…fuck. This bodes poorly for both of us.

Little Man, Gigantic Exaggeration Of His Abilities [Ken Tremendous]

I am something of a connoisseur of David Eckstein hyperbole, and I can say quite confidently that this is some grade-A hydroponic shit. “Ultimate little guy with a big heart,” “winning influence” and “dirt-stained uniform” are all par for the course — kind of hacky, actually. But “if there is no room in baseball for someone like David Eckstein, baseball will lose a piece of its soul” — man. That is gorgeous. That is a shimmering rainbow of poopguage, which is a substance you get when you combine language with poop.

It’s Gallimaufry Time! [Fire Joe Morgan]

Felix has thrown more innings than Sabathia. And his job is not to win the game. His job is to help the defense prevent the other team from winning, which he has done better than anyone. The job of winning the game comes from the offense, which is about to set a 40-year low-water mark. How in the world do you have a job?

Best of the Best:

Kashmir: Three Minutes From Nuclear War [Eric Margolis via LRC]

“In 1948, the UN Security Council ordered a plebiscite to determine if Kashmiris wanted to remain in India, or join Pakistan. India has adamantly rejected the UN resolution and insists Kashmir is a purely internal matter. Deft Indian diplomacy has managed to thwart the Kashmir dispute becoming internationalized.  The uprising, asserts Delhi, is all due to “cross-border terrorism” from Pakistan. Israel has been aiding India in its fight with Kashmir mujahidin. So the conflict has festered for 62 years – even longer than the dispute over Palestine. Further complicating matters, numerous Kashmiri Muslims are calling for an independent state and demand Pakistan return Gilgit-Baltistan (“Northern Territories” to Pakistan). Now, the Kashmir conflict can no longer be avoided. It has become part of the arc of crisis that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and India’s violence-plagued western regions.”

The Undiscovered Particles on the Edge of Known Physics [io9]

In general, all of the particles we’re about to discuss would fundamentally enhance and perhaps alter our understanding of the universe if they were to be discovered. These particles could confirm or refute decades old theory, lay the groundwork for a grand unified theory, and maybe even bring the impossible into the realm of the possible. But let’s not get too romantic about these particles – let’s first try to understand what they might be, before we speculate about what they might do.

The Deepwater plumes are a feast for bacteria who eat natural gas [io9]

Along with tons of oil, the Deepwater leak also released massive amounts of hydrocarbon gasses like propane and ethane, which are slowly dissipating under the water. Far from “killing the oceans,” these gasses are feeding huge bacterial colonies.

How the Nielsen TV ratings work — and what could replace them [io9]

Nielsen Media Research puts boxes into about 25,000 households, and these boxes record the viewing habits of every member of the household…The company goes to great lengths to make sure that each household chosen to be among the 25,000 Nielsen households stands for a large number of other people. “We make sure that our TV households maintain what we’d consider sort of normal behavior,” and people are warned against changing their viewing habits just to make a particular show popular.  So even if you don’t have a Nielsen box in your house, you should rest assured that you’re being represented in the statistical sample, Gibs says.

Who Is Pretending To Be The Togo Soccer Team? [Deadspin]

Last week, Bahrain hosted Togo in a friendly, beating them 3-0. Then Togo’s soccer federation said they hadn’t actually sent their national team, and they didn’t know who Bahrain had just played.

Dylan Grice On What Weimar Republic Popular Delusions Can Teach Us About Japan’s Upcoming Hyperinflationary Bankruptcy [Dylan Grice via Zero Hedge]

For all I know, Keynesians might be even right in thinking policy makers can fiscally jolt economies back to life, allowing them to recover back to their ‘default mode.’ But their assumption is that ‘default mode’ is positive growth. But what if it isn’t? What if the ‘default mode’ is falling output because the population is declining? Japan might just have spent the best part of twenty years trying to fiscally stimulate its way out of a demographic compression. If this is correct, and population decline has blown the hole in Japan’s government balance sheet there’s still plenty of damage in store because the demographic compression isn’t over yet.

The Men Who Sold the Moon [Reason]

Many intelligent folk—including Vannevar Bush, the engineer often credited with first imagining widespread personal computing—thought that manned space exploration was a dumb idea to begin with. “Putting man in space is a stunt,” Bush said. “The man can do no more than an instrument, in fact can do less.” But both science fiction writers and the politicians were right: Without human astronauts, no one, neither industry nor government, could have cared enough to make space travel happen.

Glenn Beck the Socialist [Phil Maymin via LRC]

Watching Beck, I discovered the truth about him: neither those who claim him as a libertarian nor those that denounce him as a phony are right. Beck is not a libertarian; he is a deep-seated socialist. But he is also not a phony; it is so deep-seated in him that he doesn’t even realize it.

On the Advice of the FBI, Cartoonist Molly Norris Disappears From View [Seattle Weekly]

She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It’s all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” cartoon.

Fat Men Can Have Sex for Longer [Asylum]

Scientists believe the reason for this discrepancy is that the fatter a guy is, the more of the female sex hormone oestradiol he has. Since oestradiol screws with a male’s overall chemical balance, it makes him take longer to perform his most manly of functions.

Limbless Man Swims Channel [Fox Sports]

A Frenchman who lost all his limbs in an electrical accident successfully swam across the English Channel on Saturday, a challenge he spent two years preparing for, his support team said.  Philippe Croizon, 42, set off from Folkestone in southern England just before 8 a.m. (06:00 GMT) and arrived on the French coast just before 9:30 p.m. (07:30 GMT), propelled by his specially designed, flipper-shaped prosthetic legs.

The No. 1 Sports Team Franchise on Facebook is … Who? [BNET]

It’s … Turkey’s Galatasary SK, with 4.5 million fans. Most people reading this won’t have heard of Galatasary, which even in soccer is only the 16th most popular team by fans. Yet somehow Galatasary has bested Man Utd, FC Barcelona, the Yankees, and the Cowboys in terms of social media friending.

Writing, Peter King. You Need Help With It. [Big Daddy Drew on KSK]

Randy Moss has a mad-on… Did Peter just suggest that Moss has an anger boner? I like this new, edgier Peter.

Many Are the Errors [Raghuram Rajan via The American]

Clearly, Fannie and Freddie did not originate subprime mortgages directly—they are not equipped to do so. But they fueled the boom by buying or guaranteeing them. Indeed, Countrywide was one of their largest originators of subprime mortgages, according to work by Ed Pinto, a former chief credit officer of Fannie Mae,4 and participated from very early on in Fannie Mae’s drive into affordable housing.

The Great Divergence: Private Investment and Government Power in the Present Crisis [Robert Higgs on The Independent Institute]

The greater part of gross investment consists of what the statisticians call the capital consumption allowance, an estimate of the amount of money that must be spent simply to offset wear and tear and obsolescence of the existing capital stock. In a country such as the United States, with an enormous fixed capital stock built up over the centuries, a great amount of funds must be allocated simply to maintain that stock. In recent years, the private capital consumption allowance has ranged from $1.29 trillion in 2005 to $1.46 trillion (in constant 2005 dollars) in 2009. Thus, even in the boom year 2006, about 60 percent of gross private domestic investment was required merely to maintain the economy’s productive capacity, leaving just 40 percent, or $889 billion in net private domestic investment, to augment that capacity.  From that level, net private domestic investment plunged during each of the following three years, taking the greatest dive between 2008 and 2009, when it fell to only $54 billion (in constant 2005 dollars), having declined altogether by 94 percent from its 2006 peak! Last year only 3.5 percent of all private investment spending went toward building up the capital stock. Thus, net private investment did not simply fall during the recession; it virtually disappeared.

Munger Tells 25 Million Americans To “Suck It In”, And To “Thank God For Bank Bailouts” As BRK Benefits From $95 Billion Of TARP Funding [Zero Hedge]

Nowhere in  Munger’s ridiculous hypocritical ramblings does the old man mention that it was precisely the same currency debasement, wanton money printing and incipient hyperinflation that created Adolf Hitler out of the failed Keynesian experiment that was the Weimar Republic. Just as nowhere does he discuss his massive conflicts of interest that would have bankrupted the billionaire should the equity in banks have been wiped out, and Berkshire’s holdings, together with its multi billions bet against the S&P, would have wiped out the firm, its shareholders and its management.

Political Earthquake Shakes Up Sweden [Stephen Castle on The New York Times]

Though the success of the center-right suggests a long-term shift in politics, analysts say Swedes remain deeply attached to their welfare system and want change to be gradual, not radical.

Dirty Power Struggle Could Backfire on Medvedev [Der Spiegel]

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has made no secret of his desire to get rid of Moscow’s strong-willed mayor, Yuri Luzhkov. The power struggle is threatening to split the pro-Kremlin United Russia party and could leave Medvedev with egg on his face.

Voodoo Economics Of the Silver Screen [Josh Barro via RealClearMarkets]

A new report out Saturday from the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency looked at that state’s film tax credit program — the country’s most generous — and found that even under the most optimistic assumptions, tax receipts driven by new economic activity barely offset 10% of the cost of awarding film tax credits. It estimates that the $125 million Michigan will spend on film credits in FY10-11 will generate just $13.5 million in new tax receipts, for a net fiscal cost of $111.5 million.

India’s Kashmir challenge [M.K. Bhadrakumar via The Hindu]

India’s regional policy, too, finds itself at a crossroads. The cementing of the U.S.-Pakistani axis in Afghanistan cannot but affect Indian interests and it leaves a lousy feeling of being let down by the Americans. However, it should be left to historians to dispassionately judge whether the Americans really did lead the Indians up the garden path. Or, was it a matter of the Indian diplomacy having been needlessly supine in the critical years between 2001-2006? If you submit as a doormat, others are bound to see you that way.

The End of the World as We Know It?  I Doubt It [Dom Armentano via LRC]

Will things be booming in 2012? I doubt it. But I don’t think that we will be eating berries or baking our own bread (unless we want to) or paying $100 for a quart of milk (or 6-pack of beer). One caveat. If the Middle East blows up, all bets are off.

Caged: Drug Gang Parrot Lorenzo The Lookout [Sky News]

A parrot that Colombian police claim was trained to act as a lookout for a drugs gang has been caged in the Caribbean coastal city of Barranquilla.

Goodfellas: Getting Made The Scorsese Way [Gentlemen’s Quarterly]

Madonna seemed to be in the mix [for the role of Henry’s wife, Karen]. I remember that we went to see her in the play Speed-the-Plow. Marty said hello to her afterwards. There was definitely somebody somewhere wanting to cast her. Can you imagine? Tom Cruise and Madonna? But Marty can get a performance out of almost anyone.

The Culture of Violence in the American West: Myth versus Reality [Thomas DiLorenzo via The Independent Institute]

In contrast, an alternative literature based on actual history concludes that the civil society of the American West in the nineteenth century was not very violent. Eugene Hollon writes that the western frontier “was a far more civilized, more peaceful and safer place than American society today” (1974, x). Terry Anderson and P. J. Hill affirm that although “[t]he West . . . is perceived as a place of great chaos, with little respect for property or life,” their research “indicates that this was not the case; property rights were protected and civil order prevailed. Private agencies provided the necessary basis for an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts were resolved” (1979, 10).  What were these private protective agencies? They were not governments because they did not have a legal monopoly on keeping order. Instead, they included such organizations as land clubs, cattlemen’s associations, mining camps, and wagon trains.

Swiped: America’s Most Stolen Products [Minyanville]

[T]here’s an army of professional thieves walking off unnoticed, stashing millions of dollars in retail goods. Meat is stuffed under skirts. Razor blades are loaded into “boost” bags. Baby formula is taken and resold to unwitting parents or to eager drug dealers who use the powder to cut cocaine.

Escaping Double Dip Still Means No Relief for Jobless [Bloomberg]

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company has “to figure out how to deal with what is an ever-increasing amount of transactions being paid for with government assistance…“You need not go farther than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month,” Simon said. “About 11 p.m. customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items — baby formula, milk, bread, eggs — and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight when government electronic benefits cards get activated, and then the checkout starts.”

Other Whimsy:





Any opinion expressed here is my own and not that of the firm which employs me.  Under no circumstances should writings or links on this website be taken as a solicitation for an investment or as investment advice.  These topics and commentaries are, whole and entire, for entertainment and discussion purposes only.


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