Sunday, August 30, 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) says the United States needs to secure all its borders — and that includes reviewing security on the far-less-controversial northern border it shares with Canada, the longest border in the world at 5,525 miles.
During an interview on NBC News's "Meet the Press" that aired Sunday morning, Walker pointed out that the United States spends millions of dollars on security at airports and ports and that it "only makes sense" to also pay that level of attention to the borders, including the one with Canada.
Moderator Chuck Todd asked Walker  whether he would support building a wall along the long northern border.

"Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire," Walker responded. "They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that's a legitimate issue for us to look at."


Manchester City are delighted to announce the signing of @DeBruyneKev! Story: 

My goodness. It has been eight days since my one-week Resolution. I did it without realizing it. Not one glance at the New York Times in over a week. I'M NOT MISSING IT! Gonna keep this going--Unless there is a Draft-Harris movement demanding psychosexual analysis of David Brooks and Roger Cohen hearingnoneResolved! Another week or never whichever comes last.

Oh Lord. Dr. Carneiro you are so lovely...How?...Oh...Your smile is so lovely, your teeth are so lovely, your face is so lovely, your hair is so lovely. I am not lovely, neither my whole nor any of the constituent parts. Not lovely at all. Wretched, really. Well, I will say good night, Dr. Carneiro, good night friends, good night enemies, good night ladies, good night gentiles. Jesus Christ.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sporting News.

I do apologize non-soccer followers, I will not turn this into a soccer or sports blog. I will resist the temptation to do this again. After today.

"Legendary" victory secured. God's Righteous Team of Angels in Blue swatted Harry the Hornet 2-0 on goals by Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling, Raheem's first as an Angel.

Heh-heh-heh. Child Porn beat Chelsea at the Bridge, 2-1, their first win there in 33 years. Mourinho is gonna bust a gasket.

Heh-heh-heh-heh. The Hammerheads beat the Red Sox at Fenway 3-0 (first victory there in 52 years). Heh-heh-heh-heh.

"Wenger: Result more important than performance."-ESPNFC. In a desultory match on Tyneside, Woolwich Arsenal beat the ten-man Striped Prison Shirts 1-0 on an own goal.

Four matches in. Four matches in, Manchester City are clear and away the best in the EPL. Four straight wins, four straight shutouts, 10-0 goal difference, top of the EPL table, Crystal Palace second, realistic competitors faltering, holders Chelsea now with two losses, 13th place, eight points and 13 goals behind City, Arsenal, completely unimpressive, fifth place, five points and ten goals off, Liverpool sixth, five points and 11 goals behind. Manchester "Buccaneers" have not lost yet, they have one draw in three matches and play tomorrow at Swans. Ominously, manager Louis van Gaal has fallen out with goalkeeper David De Gea who wants out. Thus, four matches in.

Washing the Soul of Herbert Hoover.

                                            "Hail Herbert Hoover
                                             Son of toil
                                            A gallant leader."

                                                   -1928 campaign song.

A double-breasted...The lapel, the lapel...

That's the guy's press secretary there. Look at them! 

The guy's sense of judgment was like my sense of direction, always 180 degrees off:

"In 1936, Hoover entertained hopes of receiving the Republican presidential nomination again, and thus facing Roosevelt in a rematch."-Wiks.

Can you believe that? "They still love me, I bet I can win the nomination." :o  Looked forward to a rematch with FDR!  "I'll get 'im this time!" 

"Hoover visited 10 European countries in March 1938, the month of Nazi Germany's Anschluss of Austria, and stated "I do not believe a widespread war is at all probable in the near future. There is a general realization everywhere ... that civilization as we know it cannot survive another great war."[133] Like many, he initially believed that the European Allies would be able to contain Germany, and that Imperial Japan would not attack American interests in the Pacific."-dits.

"When the United States entered the war following the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl 
Harbor, Hoover swept aside all feelings of neutrality and called for total victory. He offered himself to the government in any capacity necessary, but the Roosevelt Administration did not call upon him to serve."-dits.


JEE-zus Christ.

Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sporting News.*

*'Kevin De Bruyne is off to Man City' says Wolfsburg director Klaus Allofs-ESPNFC. UPDATED 12:27 am, Aug. 29.

Manchester City eyeing another legendary victory against Watford-ESPNFC.


There are NO legendary victories against "Watford," okay? NONE! Watford does not do legends. Legends do not travel along Vicarage Road. "Harry the Hornet" is not a legend. What the hell is that melodrama of a lede about? If City wins, and it's at the Etihad by the way, it will break the old CLUB record for consecutive wins...That would not make it a "legendary" win either! City's history until 2007 was the kind of history you want to erase, not mark with a special occasion. "Legendary victory against Watford," good grief.

Continuing our theme UEFA announced its draws yesterday:

Manchester City get Group of Death again in Champions League

        -The Guardian.

"Again." "Another." These are not headlines from City's website or some fanzine!

They're in with Juventus, Sevilla, and, hold on, I have to copy and paste this...Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Very sorry to see that Murderer's Row but if they don't get out of the round of 16 this year, it will have been a Group of Death for Manuel Pellegrini's tenure at City.


And finally, the YouAlsoRan League announced its pairings. Liverpool is in Group "B" with Bordeaux, FC Sion Sitten, heh-heh-heh-heh, and...FK Rubin Kazan.

FK Rubin Kazan!

Hey Livers! Never walk alone into Rubin Kazan's deli.


"The Great Fall of China."-The Economist.

Needlessly melodramatic headline. These are the details:

"Rich-world markets have regained some of their poise. But three fears remain: that China’s economy is in deep trouble...
China, where share prices continued to plunge, is the source of the contagion...

Around $5 trillion has been wiped off global equity markets since the yuan devalued earlier this month. That shift, allied to a string of bad economic numbers and a botched official attempt to halt the slide in Chinese bourses, has fuelled fears that the world’s second-largest economy is heading for a hard landing. Exports have been falling. The stockmarket has lost more than 40% since peaking in June, a bigger drop than the dotcom bust.
Yet the doomsters go too far. [And with it, your fucking headline. Why do you use scare tactics like that?
]The property market is far more important to China’s economy than the equity market is. Property fuels up to a quarter of GDP and its value underpins the banking system; in the past few months prices and transactions have both been healthier. China’s future lies with its shoppers, not its exporters, and services, incomes and consumption are resilient. If the worst happens, the central bank has plenty of room to loosen policy. After a cut in interest rates this week, the one-year rate still stands at 4.6%. The economy is slowing, but even 5% growth this year, the low end of reasonable estimates, would add more to world output than the 14% expansion China posted in 2007.

Even 5% growth the "low end." The U.S. would create a holiday for 5% economic growth. Obama would be drafted to run for a third term. 

China is not in crisis. However, its ability to evolve smoothly from a command to a market economy is in question as never before...their botched—and sporadic—efforts to stop shares from sagging. Worse, plans for reform may fall victim to the government’s fear of giving markets free rein. [Botched, and still produced 5% annual growth.Some botch.]

Okay, enough. Go away, doomsayers, and The Economist. And take down that irresponsible headline.

Thank you, Sheikh Mansour.

"He's had an astonishing, astonishing offer from City and we can't compete with that. We had to take it seriously and that is the way we react with our players and finally we decided to start negotiations with City."
-Klaus Allofs, Director of Sport, VfL Wolfsburg on midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

That from a club owned by VOLKSWAGEN! For soccer newcomers, players move not through trades as they do in the States but through straight sales,"transfers" they're called. There are two parts to the finances of a transfer, one, the amount of money the capturing club pays to the parent club. In this case that is reputed to be £54 million or $83.16 million. Fair piece of change but that's not what Klaus Allofs is talking about. When Allofs says "He had an astonishing, astonishing offer from City," he talking about the second component of a transfer fee, the player's wages. Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona has the highest wages in world soccer at $71 million/year. The highest paid player in the EPL is Wayne Rooney at $24,024,000, I hope I did the conversions correctly there, that is a significant disparity with Messi, but I operate on the shaky assumption that my math is correct. De Bruyne makes $11,300,000 at Wolfsburg if my info is correct that he is paid 10,000,000 Euros and if I did the conversion from Euros to dollars correctly. So, what would be an "astonishing, astonishing offer from City"? Yaya Toure is currently City's highest paid player at $19,219,000. My guess is City has made Kevin De Bruyne an offer that will make him the highest paid player in the EPL, so north of Rooney's $24 million. "Astonishing, astonishing" suggests to me, I'll guess, $40 million a year. On those assumptions, City's total outlay for De Bruyne, total out of pocket from City, is about $123 million. 

More from ESPNFC:

"During the day we have gone on with negotiations and we've got closer to each other. But the deal is not already done. So hopefully we will find an end tonight or tomorrow morning.

"I would prefer to keep him, not to get the money. But the money now is really the issue...he was a key player and took the next step.

"It will be very difficult -- apart from Bayern Munich -- to compete with the Premier League in the future.

"It is a big blow if he is leaving Wolfsburg but, you know, it's a difficult situation...It's really a situation that nobody was thinking about when he started with us."

Allofs said the Premier League's television money posed a huge challenge for all of German football.

"Even the last team in the Premier League has much more money than Bayern Munich in TV money so this is already the situation.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, "thank you" is not enough. Your Highness, what you have done since 2008 is  "astonishing, astonishing." Your commitment to excellence no matter what the cost is incomprehensible. You have done for your nation in garnering good will in Britain and throughout the soccer world more than anything that the U.A.E. could have done with that money. You have become the U.A.E.'s most successful ambassador to the world. Allahu Akbar, Sheikh Mansour and, if it is not blasphemous for me to say, my Allah bless you.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

When I was a boy I had a dog. "Rusty." Rusty was bipolar. Most of the time Rusty was passive to the point of being inert. But when we took him up to the woods for exercise he turned manic. As soon as we took his chain off he would go off chasing after game. When we were ready to leave we'd call him and call him and sometimes we'd have to leave without him. Sometimes hours later Rusty would come back tongue dragging. One time he didn't come home even hours later. The next we saw of him Rusty was chasing a deer down the street in front of the house. Real bipolar dog, Rusty. Then one time one of my older brother showed up with his dog, a little yipping, yapping, hyperactive schnauzer named Schultzie. We kept the chain taut on Rusty. To our surprise there was no need. As Schultzie ran around him like a maniac and made lightening-like sorties at him Rusty just sat there on his haunches and espied Schultzie with furrowed brow, amazed. Rusty had never seen anything like Schultzie. Didn't know what to do with him.

I've been thinking about Rusty and the Republicans. I have been thinking of Rusty and the Republicans because the other Republican presidential candidates don't know what to make of Donald Trump. They have never seen anything like him before. Trump is running like a maniac all over the place cannonading everything and everyone, including the other candidates, who come within range and the other Republicans don't know what to do.

I counted this morning, there have been at least four occasions when the media have said, "That's it! Trump just doomed his candidacy." One, his announcement speech. Mexican illegal immigrants are criminals and rapists. Two, when John McCain criticized his remarks on immigration Trump responded that McCain wasn't a war hero and knew nothing about immigration. Three, he made crude, misogynistic remarks about a Fox News reporter. "Can't win a fight with Fox News if you're a Republican," the pundits said. And fourth, just in the last couple of days, he had a tete-a-tete with a respected, famous Spanish-language newscaster. The Los Angeles Times yesterday: "In taking on Jorge Ramos, Donald Trump may have tussled with the wrong media star." The only one of the four that I saw was this last and I did not think Trump was as inappropriate as was Jorge Ramos. "That was a man in charge," one Republican voter agreed. It has not happened. Trump's candidacy has not been doomed by any of the four incidents, in fact, he has solidified his lead over the other candidates.

How to explain this? I don't know. As I type this I don't know but there are some things that have been percolating in my head that I will precipitate now in print. So many pundits doomed Trump's candidacy and I did not. I did not have the thought to doom his candidacy. Why? Calling Mexican illegal immigrants criminals and rapists was as mean, offensive and incorrect a thing as I can ever remember being said by a presidential candidate. It was racist. Trump's remarks were appalling and I appalled them. Why didn't they doom his candidacy? Why didn't I doom his candidacy?

Now, I'm going to get all elevated here, I'm going to take another ride on my elevated Soul Train. Trump never got defensive over his Mexican remarks, he never apologized or backed down, he doubled down, stayed on the offensive. I am sure that America's soul was changed by the September 11, 2001 attacks, we went from offensive to defensive, among other things. You know how I say "you have to have enemies?" I think a lot of Americans feel they need enemies, too. "Whaddya mean this is a war on "terrorism," no, on "extremism? Where's the terrorism team, then? Where's the extremism team? Attack! This is war!" Trump is giving the American people enemies. He is naming them. The Mexicans! Attack! He is going on the offensive, back to America's primordial soul. Maybe I'm fishing so high up my line isn't even in the water but doesn't it seem to you too that the content of Trump's attacks--And really, Mexicans? He's selling Mexicans as the enemy? Absurd. Absurd!--matters less to Trump supporters than that he is attacking? "That is a man in charge!" He's "not politically correct," the favorite right-wing term of endearment for "He's an uninformed, mean-spirited bigot." He attacks Mexicans-Rick Perry, Jeb Bush and John McCain call him out, he attacks Perry, Bush and McCain. Result: Has anybody heard from Rick Perry lately? Perry's campaign is dead in the water, Bush is a solid number two but is treading water and eying Trump as warily as Rusty eyed Schultzie. Lindsey Graham defends McCain, calls Trump a jackass, which he is, Trump attacks Graham, Result: Has anybody heard from Lindsey Graham recently? Graham's candidacy is dead in the water. The second-tier candidates--Cruz has said he will not attack Trump, and has not; Huckabee and Walker are "going to school" on Trump, modulating their message as they see what he, the front-runner, can get away with. Me-too! Me-too! I'm anti-Mexican, too! I'm a kinder, gentler anti-Mexican. Even Bush, the self-proclaimed "Hispanic," is using the politically incorrect term "anchor babies" for children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants.

If I am politically correct then these candidates who are going to school on the Trump message are
missing the medium for the message. It's not "Mexicans," it's attack. But that would also mean that those who have attacked, and attacked a more plausible enemy than Mexicans, Trump himself, should be doing well. And they aren't. So as I said these are percolating thoughts I have had and now that I have precipitated that one I think I was precipitating too high up. 

I still cannot conceive Trump getting the G.O.P. nomination and I keep thinking that there is going to come with Trump a Joseph Welch-Joseph McCarthy moment where someone says to Trump, "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?," and that will end it but maybe not.

Another thought I've had percolating is that Trump seems to me to get political ideas much as I imagine him getting business ideas, "Hey, lets build a casino!" "Hey, let's build a residential tower!" and his "people" as he calls them, the contractors and engineers go, "But, Donald, the land," "But, Donald, the zoning," "But, Donald, the price," "But, Donald,..." and he goes, "NO BUTS! WE'RE GOING TO DO IT!" and it seems to me the American people would like a "No Buts!" type and go, "That is a man in charge." It seems to me Trump is a "concepts" guy, an "ideas" guy, he has the "vision thing" and leaves the grubby details to his people. So a couple of Trump's ideas: a few weeks ago, apropos of what I don't remember now, Trump said he would send American troops back into Iraq and the first thing he'd have them do is seize and secure the oil fields. A general, full uniform too, went on TV the next day and said but Donald, "there are some things the military just cannot do." And I go, "Why the hell can't the military seize and secure oil fields?," "Isn't the military, like, in the 'seize and secure' bidness?"

What Trump has also done, when a person is in attack mode, the focus of debate shifts from the attacker to his objective, no matter the plausibility. It's like when I'm defending someone charged with murder and the judge informs the jury that my client is charged with murder, all the jurors look at him like, "You did what?" Even I feel like scooting my chair a few inches away from him or pointing at myself and mouthing "Not me." to the jury. I don't even remember why Trump wanted the American military to seize and secure the Iraqi oil fields and that's the point, I was focusing on the objective and not buying, still don't buy that "But Donald" obstructionist general's response. The other big idea of Trump's, and this he got into with Jorge Ramos, is to build a wall along the border to keep all the Mexican criminals and rapists out. Ramos, and Jeb Bush too, said "Too expensive...Billions of dollars...Impractical...Real solutions," and Trump goes, "I build things, okay? It's easier to build a 94 story building than a wall," and I go to myself, "A 1900 foot wall, though? It does seem like it would be easier to build a wall than a tower but a 1900 foot wall?" Immediately, because that was how Ramos was attacking Trump's idea of a wall, my focus shifted from the idea of a wall--How embarrassing would it be for America to build a wall around itself? "Give me your tired,
your poor," fuhgedaboudit.--to the implementation details. Psychologically, Trump gets you to shift focus from himself to his objective and from idea to grubby details. He gets us to accept, even if tentatively, the idea that Mexican illegals are the enemy, that a wall is the solution and that the Iraqi oil fields should be seized. Powerful thing, psychology. Real advantage, being the attacker. You can still get guys acquitted though, even of murder.
In other China news the gaols are filling up rapidly as a consequence of the Big Bang of Tianjin. Twelve have now been arrested. 139 dead, 34 still listed as missing.
Concluding our popular series "Stock Markets of the World," SHCOMP, the Shanghai Composite, was UP 5.34% last session. Coming up next! Hot Stockbrokers of the World."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dow Jones Closes Up 3.95%.

Wiping out Monday's and Tuesday's losses. 
Where are the stories? Google's top news stories is devoid of stock market news. Because as of 2:41 local time the Dow is up 2.39%.  I had to seperately search "dow jones industrial average." Now if it falls before closing, as it did yesterday, and ends up down for the day, then you'll see the headlines.

Three things I've read: China cut interest rates, lowered the amount of reserves banks must hold, both designed to stimulate spending, and after their markets closed yesterday announced a $22 billion stimulus program. So, yeah.

"China fires work safety director in corruption probe."-Washington Post.

Now that seems an appropriate, straight-forward purge :)


Down 1.3%. Not as bad as 8!  European stocks lower. We'll see what effect all this has on the street in an hour.

Shanghai Composite.

I'm afraid to look...

At noon in the Far East the two major Chinese stock market indices were UP a hair, which all things considered beats the hell out of being down 8.5% and 8% but trading is described as roller-coaster like and the analysts are making that "not impressed" face. Yesterday in New York, the American markets were bungee-jump like, starting strongly up only to reverse all of those gains in the last three minutes and close down 200 points for the day. So maybe investors are waiting for the last three minutes.

Always looked like the silhouette of a rooster to me, the map of China.
Both the Telegraph and Sky Sports have named the greatest moments in Premier League history. #1 in both lists is:
Aguerr-O-O-O-O! It was incontesably the most dramatic moment in my life as a sports follower. And I was not a neutral, I was a committed follower. Records are made to be broken. Not that one. It will stand for all time. 

Not my words, a quote, but those are my words too.

The Telegraph's #59 was Sheikh Mansour's purchase of City:

#51 "Welcome to Manchester" Carlos Tevez:

Number 37. United 1, City 6

#24. Manchester United 8, Arsenal 2 and Sir Alex Ferguson consoles Arsene Wenger. What a remarkable gesture.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It all began with Shanghai's 8.5% drop
The dramatic selling began overseas. China's Shanghai Composite plummeted 8.5%, wiping out all of its massive gains so far this year. Not only has an apparent bubble in Chinese equities popped, but the country's economy may be slowing much faster than feared.

We are, by definition, in "correction mode" in the U.S. stock market, defined as a drop of 10% or more. The Standard and Poors 500 index is off 11% this week. T'ain't nothin' compared to China, though. They lost 8.5% yesterday and 8% more today. Zhongnanhai cut interest rates today. In a little under two hours the Shanghai market will open for another day and we'll see if it did any good.

Price/earnings ratio or p/e, is to corporate evaluation what earned run average, e.r.a., is to baseball pitcher evaluation. 15 is the p/e watershed like 3.00 is in baseball and the U.S. stock market as a whole had a p/e of 17 before this correction, so "I don't think it's going to have a very serious downward direction from here," [Wilbur Ross] old CNBC's "Squawk Box." "But I think there will be lots and lots of volatility around whatever is the midpoint."

And then there is this bright forecast by former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers:

Lawrence H. Summers

Lawrence H. Summers ‏@LHSummers
As in August 1997, 1998, 2007 and 2008 we could be in the early stage of a very serious situation.

Thank you, Larry! Come my monthly direct deposit in six days, I'm with this 27 year old:

"In St. Louis, Shannon Miller refused to check her 401(k) plan Monday, just to stop herself from having a knee-jerk reaction to the stock plunge."
Oil prices staged a comeback on Tuesday...

...fears over the health of China’s economy and the global glut in supply...

Amid the global market crisis on Monday, the oil price benchmark hit a new 52-week low...

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI was up 3.6% at $39.62 a barrel, below the psychologically important $40 level.

-Wall Street Journal.

I have a question, I have several questions. 

How did there come to be a "global glut" of oil? Fracking? 

Why does oil fluctuate like this? Global glut or not it's not like the world has come up with a substitute. The modern world literally cannot live without oil so the demand for oil is fairly "inelastic," like the demand for water. So "fairly inelastic" means somewhat elastic and sure prices will go up, prices will go down somewhat. But why a 57% drop? We're not drinking 57% less water.

Was it really a "global market crisis" yesterday? 

Why is $40/bbl "psychologically important?" Was $50? Will $20 be, the level Barron's predicted oil would hit before rebounding? What does "psychologically important" mean?

Why has there not been a 57% drop in the price of gasoline at the pump in the last year? How about a 47% drop? I'll take 37%.

China Fears.

The markets are open in the PRC and at 10:15 am local time the Shanghai Composite is off 4.5% already.

Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite your toes off.

Heroes Are Hot.

In just over 48 hours "Get him" has had 139 141 pageviews, which if that post was a stock it would be the Apple of posts. You have to go back to May 1 to "Probable Cause Affidavit, Freddie Gray Defendants" for more pageviews. Why would that be? A picture post? The Three Americans are very good-looking but one in particular seems to have caught the fancy of gurlz. Search keywords since Saturday:

alex scarlatos 4
alex skarlatos spencer stone 3
alek skarlatos 2
alec scarlatos 1

Okay, ladies, hold onto your hearts!
He is movie star handsome. And he's a HERO!

Look, he's offering you a drink.

Now, not to throw you completely over the edge, pun intended, here are a couple of Spencer Stone:

Okay! Do I take care of you girl-guys, or what? 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Guardian Angels.

The three Americans with President Hollande after he pinned them with France's highest civilian award. Everybody smiling (Psst, even the helmeted guard!). A tremendous moment. Hollande has a good face, a genuine, heart-warming smile and remember that iconic photo of him and Chancellor Merkel at the foot of the Germanwings crash site? Genuine sadness, not stoic, genuinely felt.

Yesterday in the first half of the soccer match at Everton, Manchester City were setting up for a corner kick when all of a sudden City's Sergio Aguero signaled to stop play. An Everton fan in the first row behind the Everton goal went into epileptic seizure and Aguero stopped the match to get the man immediate medical help.

In Spring Hill, Florida, a man had a heart attack mowing his lawn. Fire-Rescue responded and saw the stricken man safely off to the hospital...and then finished up his yard work for him.

Worldwide bull market in heroes the last few days. 

U.S. Stocks Close Down 588, Lowest in 18 Months.

Enjoy the rest of your day.