Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earth Hour in San Francisco

San Francisco at 8:15 PM, fifteen minute before Earth Hour.

Tonight San Francisco observed "Earth Hour", an international celebration of freezing in the dark. Or something. During the hour of 8:30 - 9:30 PM local time, people all over the world turned off unnecessary lights. Then, at 9:31 PM, people all over the world turned all their unnecessary lights back on.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Don't Cry For Me San Francisco -
The Mirkarimi Musical

An Ess Eff Scandal Pregnant with Possibilities

Your loyal blogger has been transfixed in recent weeks by the unfolding saga of our recently elected Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and his firecracker Venezuelan wife - telenovella star Eliana Lopez. Several times I started to knock up a blog update when new plot twists, an "only in San Francisco" character, or breaking news stopped me short. Finally I realized a mere blog post can no longer encompass the epic scope of this unfolding morality tale.

Some have characterized this story as a Soap Opera, Godfather Sequel, or Greek Tragedy. They all miss the mark. Nothing less than a full scale Golden Age Hollywood Musical Extravaganza or an Epic Operatic production on a Wagnerian scale will do it justice. Having neither the skill nor the time to do this properly, I'll just sketch out a few ideas in the hope that someone will take this and run with it. My fervent hope is that someday I will be sitting in the front row and watching this production at the San Francisco Opera House. Look for me opening night.

I see a three act production - recognizing the last act and final denouement is yet to be written and unfolding as we speak.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Let's play "Clue": Was it Mr. Corzine in the Board Room with the "Smoking Gun" E-mail?

Some mysteries are not very mysterious. The culprit seems obvious. But the wheels of intrigue turn slowly, investigations proceed at their own pace, and the full story emerges grudgingly over months and years.

As we have chronicled on this blog from the first week that MF Global declared bankruptcy, the mystery of the missing "sacrosanct" segregated client funds was not something that could be explained away with run-of-the-mill corporate incompetence and executive malfeasance:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Defending the defensible: Citizens United - two years and one election later.

Over two years have passed since the Supreme Court cleared away any barriers to corporate participation in our electoral process. This decision was widely panned across the political spectrum and may have damaged the Courts reputation. Many on the right, left, and center feared the consequences of even more big money unleashed in the political process, but the most hysterical and apocalyptic criticism came from the left. Words like disaster, catastrophe, subversive, destructive, and indefensible were and are routinely used by the left to describe the Court's decision.
Enough time has passed that we can now begin to assess the actual effects of the decision as opposed to speculating about future damage and giving voice to our fear and loathing of hypothetical scenarios. Tim Cavanaugh of Reason Magazine takes a look at the subsequent impact of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and finds"Five Ways Citizens United Is Making Politics Better":

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Schmidt Agonistes
Game Change - The Movie

UPDATED: 11-March-12

This weekend, HBO will broadcast a highly promoted dramatization of Game Change – John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s novelization of the 2008 presidential campaign. I read the paperback version and am looking forward to seeing the docudrama.

I posted a review of the book in December 2010 and will extract a few observations here that may (or may not) be relevant to the broadcast.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Time for Dennis Kucinich to call in that Obamacare chit?

Remember this? On March 15, 2010 Dennis Kucinich went for a joy ride on Air Force One with President Obama. Before he got on the plane he voted against Obamacare saying:
"This bill represents a giveaway to the insurance industry… $70 billion a year, and no guarantees of any control over premiums, forcing people to buy private insurance.”
After he got off the plane, he voted for it. Some have suggested that Dennis sold his vote for a ride on Air Force One.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Investors Love Divided Government
2012 Super Tuesday Edition

CNBC reporter Amanda Drury breaking a story on Super Tuesday

In general, the Dividist prefers CNBC for his daily news fix, as there is a better signal-to-noise ratio at CNBC compared to the usual mainstream broadcast and cable news suspects. On this Super Tuesday, the Dividist was less interested in projections of GOP primary results than a discussion on CNBC about the intersection of the general election, investors and the economy. We have explored the theme of investor reaction to national elections since the inception of this blog, including editions in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2010, and 2011.

Each time, the Dividist has offered this caveat: Over the long  or medium term,we do not think any attempt to correlate political parties in power and stock market performance should be taken more seriously than the Hemline Index or the Super Bowl Indicator. The reason is simple. The federal government does not and can not control GDP, private employment, corporate profits, and/or the stock market as much presidents or presidential wannabes would like us to believe they can.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

David Frum's problem is still obvious.

David Frum is unhappy about Ron Paul and his supporters. This is not new, but on the plus side, it gives me an opportunity to recycle a favorite graphic I first used in November 2007. I suspect I'll have the opportunity to use it again between now and the Republican convention.

Ron Paul holds a very special place in the psyche of David Frum. Frum fancies himself on the vanguard of a modern intellectual conservatism. But when Ron Paul is the topic, he is reduced to incoherent, bile filled rants in both his writing and televised appearances.