Saturday, January 01, 2011

1-1-11 - It's all aces this year and other reasons for optimism.

I had this weird feeling all New Year's Day that I just couldn't shake. It was kind of deja-vu-ish, in the sense that - I was sure I felt this way before - but I just couldn't quite remember why or when. Then it finally hit me - I was experiencing "optimism." I was actually feeling good about our future prospects and looking forward to the new year. This was a sensation I'd almost forgotten, as I've not felt this way on a New Year's Day in at least a decade. I was much more accustomed to the overwhelming sense of relief at leaving the prior year behind, while looking forward with a nameless dread at the year to come. Well - this was such a unique sensation, that I thought it worthwhile to try and put my finger on the source of this irrational exuberance cautious optimism.

Lets start with the easy ones - the date itself. Just look at it: "1-1-11". Now that is a date to start a year with - Four Aces. It just doesn't matter how the deck was cut, or how much bad luck you've been dealt up to now. When you flip those cards and see four aces staring back, you are feeling good about life. I felt so good about it that I am going to deal myself four more aces by posting this at exactly 11:11 PM.

In a few weeks the Chinese New Year kicks off and in the Chinese zodiac, this is the Year of the Bunny ( ). Need I say more? What's not to like about the Year of the Bunny? This year, the Year of the Bunny is also the 3rd year of a presidential term and if you believe in bunnies or investing based on presidential cycles, then this should be a good year for the stock market.

At almost every level - nationally, locally, in sports, politics, even looking globally - there was good news to be found and something to look forward too. Let's tick them off..

Reason for National Politics Optimism
On Wednesday the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives will gavel in a restoration of divided government after a disastrous two years under One Party Democratic rule. The 111th Congress, including the lame duck session just completed was a perfect example of the kind of fiscal irresponsibility and insane spending that seems to accompany One Party Rule by either party. Wednesday, January 5th has been declared an official National Dividist® Day of Celebration by... um... The Dividist. Everyone should take the day off and spend the day watching c-span with a fifth of Kentucky bourbon.

In general, our expectations and hopes for divided government can be found on the post linked here. Historical evidence shows that divided government restrains the growth of spending and is more fiscally responsible than one party rule. Our specific expectation for the new Congress is that this historical precedent will hold when comparing the divided 112th to the united 111th. How could it not?

The 111th has made this comparison easy and inevitable. The 111th Congress and Democratic One Party Rule will go down in history as the single most fiscally irresponsible episode in our nations history, funding a trillion+ of new spending in bailouts and Stimulus I without being paid for, another trillion+ in new spending with Obamacare – passed on the pretense of being paid for by shifting costs to the bankrupt states and by pretending the “Doc Fix” does not exist and capped off with yet another trillion+ dollar hole in the deficit from the stimulus II/tax bill just passed in the lame duck session over the objections of the still ineffectual fiscal hawks.

The divided 112th Congress will undoubtedly improve on that record. It just can’t get any worse. Of course, I used to say that about One Party Republican rule. We'll see.

Reason for Sports Optimism
My Chicago Bears have locked down the number 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. It does not even matter (to the Bears) what happens in Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers. I actually hope the Bears rest their starters. If Green Bay moves on as a wild card, they may meet again in Chicago for the NFC Championship a few weeks hence. I may have to go to that game, and I may have to rewrite and update the "Bears Song in Prose." Hopefully with a better ending this time.

Reason for San Francisco Values Optimism
My New Year's Day hangover was not as bad as I deserved, and I was greeted the first day of the new year by a great headline in the Chron to enjoy with my ibuprofin and coffee:
San Francisco chosen to host America's Cup
"It's a new year and a new dawn for the sport of sailing in San Francisco. The city was chosen Friday to host the next America's Cup in 2013, heralding a potential renaissance in competitive sailing and a boon of more than $1 billion to the local economy. This "marks the beginning of an extraordinary new chapter for our city and for the sport of sailing," said Lt. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, who sought to secure the Cup as a capstone to his seven years as mayor. "We don't think there is any better showcase in the world for sailing than San Francisco Bay." [...]"
This is going to be great. It'll be one heck of an economic boon to The City and enable us to upgrade rotting piers and waterfront infrastructure that we otherwise could never afford to fix. This was such an obvious good thing that even our dysfunctional Board of Supervisors had to get behind it, despite the usual carping from the batshit left in the City who can't stand the idea that Larry Ellison might make some money on the deal.

Reason for International Optimism
Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy has been all over a troubling European legal investigation that makes the Wikileaks legal travails pale into insignificance. Last August, he linked to a breaking story on Italian police opening an investigation into a topless sunbather for inappropriate application of sun screen:

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.
"A TOPLESS sunbather is being investigated by police after being accused of sensuously rubbing sun cream on herself on a public beach. Police were called to a beach at Anzio south of Rome by a furious mother who said the way the “attractive” sunbather was rubbing lotion on her body had “troubled her sons aged 14 and 12.” “She is amazed that she is being condemned for simply sunbathing topless,” [the woman’s] lawyer Gianluca Arrighi said.“Let’s be clear my client is tall, brunette and has an ample breast and is therefore going to naturally be sensuous when she applies cream to her chest....”
Well I hope I don't have to paint a picture here to show what a troubling precedent this investigation represents. This is Freedom. But - good news! In a New Year post, Volokh follows up on the story:
“the claimant mother has been condemned for ‘calumnie’ ... (a false accusation leading to the beginning of a criminal trial) and ordered to pay 25k to the young woman.” He points to an Italian video on the story, but since I can’t speak Italian I can’t understand it, except to note that the word for “topless” in Italian is apparently “topless.”
The most revealing in-depth analysis is to found in the linked Italian channel TG5 video news report. These screen shots are from that video. And yes, Italian TV News is much better than US TV News.

The Italian story has "legs" and noted by the likes of McCain and Instapundit.

Divided and Balanced.™
Now that is fair.

1 comment:

Tully said...

I for one welcome our new topless cream-rubbing overlords, er, overladies.

What channel do I find the Italian news on?