Wednesday Open Thread

Holy crud, it's already Wednesday.

 

[Tries to think of something to say.]

 

...

 

Consider this your open thread.

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Hmmnn. Something fishy.

(#272943)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

"Roshan was a critic of his country’s nuclear program, saying it has led to stricter sanctions and increased poverty, Mohammad-Reza Heydari, who resigned as Iran’s Oslo consul in 2010 and was later granted political asylum, said in a phone interview. Roshan had voiced his concerns about the nuclear program to Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Heydari said."

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-16/iran-threatens-u-s-u-k-israel-a...

 

 

Roshan

(#272946)

was definitely an administrator at the Natanz enrichment facility, the Iranian govt's own news service says that and is in agreement with outside sources.   Maybe he was a critic but not enough of one to get himself fired, much less killed.  It's possible that some even-harder-line faction targetted him for being soft,  but not likely.  The hard liners have enough control that they can openly arrest and question anyone they want up to the cabinet level, so there's no need for them to engage in assassinations.

 

Most likely explanation is the obvious one:  MEK,  either on their own or with foreign help.

By The Numbers

(#272929)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Writing for espn.com, David Schoenfield lists in five year increments (advancing one year later for each one) the five best position players in MLB measured by WAR (Wins Above Replacement) from 1969 to the present. It reminds one of several things:

--before he became a rather mediocre baseball color man, Joe Morgan was an insanely good baseball player;

--Pete Rose was never quite the best player in baseball, but he was often in the top five at his peak;

--Yes, Albert Pujols is by far the best player in MLB since Barry Bonds finished his five year run of awesome at the end of the 2004 season;

--even if you ignore everything that happened after 1998, Barry Bonds is at the top of an awful lot of those lists.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Huntsman bows out, will support Romney

(#272928)
Bird Dog's picture

Bummer. He really was the best candidate. This says more about my party than about Huntsman. It's more than a little loopy that less qualified candidates like Santorum, Gingrich and Paul would poll at higher numbers.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

It Says A Lot About Badly Run Campaigns

(#272937)
M Scott Eiland's picture

While I probably would have worded it somewhat differently, it's hard to argue with Ace's analysis--Huntsman should have run on his (obviously conservative) record in Utah, avoided gratuitously bringing up controversial issues where he could be confident he was at odds with the conservative base, and used the "service to my nation" argument as a means of reassuring strong Obama-haters while maintaining his appeal to moderates. It's not complicated--emphasize your strengths, play down your weaknesses or justify them using the rhetoric of your own party. Ace pointedly mentioned Charlie Crist--didn't his richly deserved fate provide some insight to how Huntsman's approach was likely to play in a primary environment even less friendly to perceived moderates than Florida's was?

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

To be fair, the bit....

(#272942)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

....Ace quotes at the tail regarding the "tectonic shift" hasn't actually been proven false, at least as far as the general electorate.

True that, but...

(#272941)
Bird Dog's picture

...the hardline conservatives showed an itchy trigger finger in not letting him into the tribe, precipitated with Erickson's and others harumphing that (1) he had Weaver as campaign chair, and Weaver is evil because he headed the McCain, and conservatives all apparently know that McCain is either a moderate or a RINO or worse, and (2) conservatives could never vote for a guy who not only worked for Obama, but was conspiring to take Obama's job while working for Obama.

But I do stipulate that Huntsman did a poor job of making the sale.

 

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Well Yes. . .

(#272955)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .I'd say that proving the hardliners right by running a campaign that downplayed his conservatism, emphasized incompetently veiled sneering at the base and granted interviews with Republican-hostile media *was* a pretty poor job of making the sale. Perhaps he should have tried to prove them wrong, instead--it certainly wouldn't have produced a worse result than he actually got for his money. Weaver is not to my knowledge evil, but the available evidence suggests that he's a f***ing moron--and Huntsman was a fool for trusting him.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Wouldn't have helped

(#272940)

The guy just plain had a whiff of "elitist" about him that couldn't have been erased merely by emphasizing the right policy positions.  The whole urbane cosmopolitan sophisticate thing doesn't play well with Republicans, except maybe in a few patches of New England and within 50 miles of the West Coast, and it isn't signaled by the positions on issues, it's signaled by word choice, accent, resume, and even stuff like holding his chin a bit too high in photographs.

That's not the reason

(#272954)
HankP's picture

Republicans have too much invested in Obama the illegitimate Kenyan socialist communist fascist who's the incarnation of evile in our world to merely disagree with his policies. Either blatantly or subtly, the GOP nominee has to despise Obama and his positions to get the support of the base. Lying about it is even better, becasue when it's pointed out it just shows that the media is supporting Obama too.

I blame it all on the Internet

Yes, but the 1st urbane cosmopolitan sophisticate elitist

(#272951)
aireachail's picture

with a G.E.D.

 

 

There's a distinction

(#272959)

between a GED earned by someone who missed high school due to poverty/imprisonment/etc and someone who dropped out because a billionaire's son need not submit to the indignities of a public high school in order to be successful.  Or to be more specific, a public International Baccalaureate high school that features a first rate rugby team.  

 

Not that there's anything wrong with any of that, but it doesn't exactly add up to "regular guy".

Good thing he's not endorsing Santorum

(#272932)
brutusettu's picture

I'm not sure if any of the blah people that supported Jon, would be down with Santorum.

But I do still believe that "None of the Above" is still an option.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."

 

Frank Zappa

Gee Thanks, Mr. Obama

(#272908)
M Scott Eiland's picture

It's not as if the Chinese burning all that oil will do any of the environmental damage the Greens who have you in their pocket claim the pipeline would do if it were built here in the US--and you get the "bonus" of not creating any US jobs as well. Masterful 11-dimensional chess move there.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Yep

(#272917)
Bird Dog's picture

The oil will get sold anyway. We might as well make it easier for the Canucks and just build the pipeline already.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Double the fun

(#272904)
Bird Dog's picture

The story here. I could make all kinds of snarky comments, but I'm too busy watching football. Reminds of the line in The Rocker, where the manager told the budding rock star, "You're going to get more ladies than Jay-Z got Mercedes. You're gonna need two dicks."

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

In a world where "work makes free" Aussie Murdoch is correct

(#272897)
brutusettu's picture

[url=http://news.yahoo.com/rupert-murdoch-turns-twitter-attack-obama-175645674.html]Murdoch loves big government in the right areas[/url], he's for SOPA...

[url=http://www.theonion.com/articles/republicans-vote-to-repeal-obamabacked-bill-that-w,19025/]"Republicans Vote To Repeal Obama-Backed Bill That Would Destroy Asteroid Headed For Earth"[/url]

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."

 

Frank Zappa

Colbert's performance art

(#272882)

All problems will be solved

(#272842)
mmghosh's picture

[url=http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/open-thread-7/]by somebody.[/url]

 

[quote]If you look at the crises we have faced in recent years:
The Y2K bug–solved by a cadre of elite professionals, with the public so oblivious that they now claim it was a scam by Microsoft to sell new software.

SARS–again, the pros solve the problem, while the general population pretends it’s not a problem

Swine flu, polio, smallpox, antibiotic resistant TB, resistant malaria–all tackled or being tackled by a small elite while the public are comfortably oblivious. Why should we expect the solution to climate change to be any different?

And if it can’t be solved by the pros? Well, life will persist even if we do not.[/quote]

Wow

(#272840)
M Scott Eiland's picture

I've never seen a curbstomping last six whole minutes before:

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

*Scott Glares At His Plate*

(#272825)
M Scott Eiland's picture

SEE YOU IN HELL, PORKY!

*Scott grabs a couple of slices of bacon and starts chewing with gusto*

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Excellent

(#272844)

Running the numbers, it appears that you can eat 22 strips of bacon per day and still be at a very comfortable 1 in 1000 chance of getting pancreatic cancer in a given year.

Holy crud it's Wednesday, I can't think of anything to say?

(#272819)

We're going to take away your open thread card if this keeps up.

Since when are you the card collector? nt

(#272827)
HankP's picture

.

I blame it all on the Internet

Watch it Hank

(#272829)

I'm also in charge of taking away people's "Guy" cards.

I think you're confusing me with hobbesist

(#272835)
HankP's picture

I don't play card games except for poker. And in the grand scale of things, you're a ginger so we all outrank you anyway.

I blame it all on the Internet

I don't even get the dig

(#272845)

What card games am I supposed to be playing?  Bridge?  Go Fish?  

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

It wasn't a dig

(#272849)
HankP's picture

didn't you and a bunch of other guys have a big subthread about the games you've played over the years? I thought some of them involved cards.

I blame it all on the Internet

Nope.

(#272850)

All those card-based games were after my time.  Poker's about as deep as my card-playing goes, too.

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

Two reasons to like Tebow

(#272814)
Bird Dog's picture

One, as ragged as his play is, he's gotten the job done.

Two, what he does off the field.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

More dishonest spin from my favorite DNC chair

(#272813)
Bird Dog's picture

Quote: "In addition to that, the Republican turnout was off about 40 percent from the turnout in 2008, showing that this is not a field that their side is very enthusiastic about."

Au contraire: "Voter turnout Tuesday set a record for a Republican presidential primary but fell short of the Democrats' turnout record set four years ago."

That's the challenge with being a dishonest spinmeister. It's tough to keep those facts and stories straight.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Why would anyone care what a DNC or RNC chair said?

(#272815)

about any topic?

 

Just curious.

To discredit her

(#272816)
Bird Dog's picture

nt

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

These people have credit?

(#272818)

They're fundraisers for our corrupt two-party system.

 

They're especially uninteresting when their party is in the majority and the people with any actual power reside elsewhere.  

She's the hand-chosen head of the...

(#272820)
Bird Dog's picture

...principal organization that governs the Democratic Party on a daily basis. She is one of the main faces of the party, and it's dishonest demgogic face that I'd prefer to see discredited. Personally, I think she's bad for politics and bad for your party. If you can't police your own I'll be happy to do it for you.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Personally I rate them below

(#272830)

Whitehouse spokespersons and just above corporate spokespersons, all of whom I don't pay any attention to.

 

I don't think of her as "my own". That's gross.

Sometimes they say interesting things, catchy.

(#272832)

For example.

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

So unimaginably awful

(#272843)

The skin. It crawls.

The new rickroll? nt

(#272836)
HankP's picture

.

I blame it all on the Internet

Hmm. I wonder what Reince Priebus has to say?

(#272822)
HankP's picture

Oh, that's right, NOBODY CARES.

I blame it all on the Internet

Reibus...

(#272848)
Bird Dog's picture

...is nowhwere near the camera-hungry, dishonest demagogue as Debbie Downer.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

On The Other Hand. . .

(#272824)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .Lee Atwater has been dead for twenty years and I still see liberals whining about him twice a year or so. I hereby promise that after Bill Moyers dies and I gloat over his obituary for a day or two, I won't bring up the Daisy ad again.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Moyers had nothing do with the "Daisy ad".

(#272831)
Zelig's picture

Tony Schwartz created the ad. He's dead now. There is some dispute as to who actually had that first germ of an idea, but it wasn't Moyers. However, Moyers did approve the finished ad, as did most Americans who weren't cowering in fear over the bumbling stumbling Soviets. 

 

You weren't around during that time, but Goldwater was a raging lunatic. I also met Goldwater when I was a Boy Scout and got to observe him closely during the course of a college football game. Personally he treated me great. But he was also a crackpot and prone to distortions. It's sad that Goldwater still holds a certain cache amongst so called "conservatives". 

 

I'm glad he ran for President, though. I still manage a little smile when I recall that crushing defeat. If the Republicans had any sense, they would have nominated somebody that wasn't a crackpot, and there were a handful running against him in '64. If for example, HC Lodge had won the nomination, I'm fairly certain he would have won the election and saved perhaps 3 million SE Asian lives.  

Me: We! -- Ali

Yeah

(#272838)
HankP's picture

I'm a bit younger than you, but I remember growing up that even the most conservative of my parent's friends (and there were quite a few) didn't like Johnson but thought Goldwater was nuts.

 

You're far too optimistic about alternative histories, though. Vietnam was as bipartisan a policy as you could get. Republicans took pot shots at Dems over it for political reasons, but they supported the same anti-communist policies no matter how stupid.

I blame it all on the Internet

Two Different Meanings Of "Approve"

(#272834)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Moyers signed off on broadcasting the ad, so he's responsible for it.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I thought Johnson was the candidate

(#272837)
HankP's picture

so he was responsible. Then there's the TV stations who agreed to run it. And of course the ad agencies who put it together and filmed it. So many people, strange of you to zero in on Moyers.

I blame it all on the Internet

The Last Time I Looked, LBJ Was Dead

(#272839)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Moyers had the "run it, or not" authority for the campaign regarding ads, but I suspect that "LBJ was a scumbag" is one of the few issues on which 99% of the posters here would agree on with little hesitation.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

No, LBJ was very mixed

(#272841)
HankP's picture

very bad on some issues but very good, even excellent on others.

I blame it all on the Internet

When Reince Priebus

(#272826)
HankP's picture

starts running racist ads, I'll be happy to pay attention to him. Just as I paid attention when Howard Dean announced and executed the 50 state strategy. Those were actions that had real effects. But the daily back and forth talking points on X% here and Y% there just doesn't matter.

I blame it all on the Internet

Thanks for making it explicit nt

(#272817)
HankP's picture

.

I blame it all on the Internet

That's A Lot Of Wood

(#272799)
M Scott Eiland's picture

The Fact Checker gives "King of Bain" four Pinocchios.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

"On Teaching Fight Club to

(#272798)
brutusettu's picture

[url=http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2012/01/on-teaching-fight-club-to-students-who-love-it]"On Teaching Fight Club to Students Inclined to Love It"[/url]

[quote]Fincher’s film appeals to uncritical viewers because they fail to understand it as a film. They read it. They take from it the notion that there was once a Golden Age of Masculinity and they assign themselves homework designed to bring it back. Critical viewers appreciate a film that undermines and undercuts everything their uncritical compatriots take from it. In short,[i]Fight Club[/i] bears the same relation to its source material as I argued [i]Kick-Ass[/i] did to its.[/quote]

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."

 

Frank Zappa

Can that be true?

(#272805)
HankP's picture

Can someone over the age of 13 watch that movie and not see the mocking of the "masculine ideal" as expressed by the fight clubs? I find that hard to believe.

I blame it all on the Internet

I think you forget what it's like

(#272847)

to have your thinking clouded by pulsating waves of testosterone.

 

I think in men your age they call that "Low-T."  

A man must be orthodox upon most things, or he will never even have time to preach his own heresy.

 

"Can someone over the age of 13...not see the mocking"

(#272846)
brutusettu's picture

I was 16 when it came out I'm fairly sure some people my age didn't get that the movie was mocking the parts they liked.

And afaict, SEK did that piece on [i]Fight Club[/i] for one of his current college classes, those kids are about 9 or younger when the movie came out.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."

 

Frank Zappa

Hank, what are you talking about?

(#272810)

I saw the movie and all I saw was the mocking of whoever decided to cast Meatloaf. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

His name is Robert Paulson

(#272812)
HankP's picture

and that was the high point of his acting career so far.

I blame it all on the Internet

Oops

(#272789)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Looks like NG's little attack video is a little, ahem, reality-challenged.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I see what he did there

(#272790)
brutusettu's picture

The NG PAC couldn't have done a better job at neutering future attacks on Romney related to Bain? They had to know the thing would get fact checked.

Now some will carry on basically thinking every single thing of substance in that video is a lie/think people concerned about Bain are that way due to lies.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."

 

Frank Zappa

Like I Said--Cowpox -nt-

(#272791)
M Scott Eiland's picture

.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

More like cancer

(#272806)
HankP's picture

people may intellectually accept what Romney did for a living, but they're never going to like it. For Romney, that's a problem since he doesn't have any reservoir of good feelings to draw on.

I blame it all on the Internet

Like it?

(#272865)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

I think it's practically the only worthwhile thing any of the candidates have done in their lives, BHO included.

Bernard for example I read this about Bain

(#272884)

adn wonder whether it was doing anything worthwhile at all: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/06/us-campaign-romney-bailout-idU...

"Page not found"

(#272886)
Bird Dog's picture

Got another link?

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Here's the link, BD

(#272889)

to where I originally came across the article: 

http://www.angrybearblog.com/2012/01/romney-bain-and-gs-technologies.html

Easy enough to answer.

(#272938)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

Most firms that fall under the watchful eye of "vulture capitalists" are troubled, in the sense that despite any cash reserves or useful assets they might have (think, for instance, Eastman Kodak) they are structured as to be unprofitable and have no clear path out of that situation.  What outfits like Bain do is go into those joints, invest a little, reorganize a lot and then gamble on the outcome.  The gamble takes two forms: A) the organization can be made profitable, to the point of being sold for a large profit (the unprofitable original version having been worth, literally, less than the sum of its parts) or B) the hard assets can, if the organization is terminal, be sold or otherwise liquidated.

 

Neither outcome is troublesome to me, they're both examples of creative destruction in action.  If the company were capable, pre-Bain, of producing consistent returns over the long-haul, either the owners would refuse to sell for knock-down prices or Bain would find the initial asking price unacceptable.  They are, in effect, buying junker cars or "ugly house" and then either refurbishing or selling for parts.  The debt issuance is part and parcel of the process; the bonds are issued to institutional investors who take their chances as to whether the organization can be made to repay those debts, not unlike debtor-in-possession financing offered to a bankrupt airline.

I didn't catch the "worthwhile" parts

(#272944)

You said you didn't find Bain's actions personally troublesome, made some excuses about all parties taking on risk, and then called the actions "creative destruction."

 

You were supposed to defend a positive and just ended up playing defense.

 

The worry is that the "restructuring a lot" part you mention includes, for example, loading a company up with debt so as to reduce its tax burden and then foisting its pension obligations onto taxpayers. This seems to be the case for Bain and the Mill company discussed in the reuters article. It's unclear why anyone other than the people who directly benefited from these actions should regard them as "worthwhile".

 

From your general sketch you seem to be assuming that everything legal that vulture capitalism firms do is good, which is a ridiculous assumption, and doesn't touch on anything that Bain did in particular. 

Why do you call it "foisting",

(#272947)
mmghosh's picture

as something pejorative?  Part of the whole point of taking on a problem company is to offload the liabilities, legally, using tactics that competition who do the same could not figure.  That's why such companies succeed.  That's the whole point of creative destuction, AFAICS, or Bernard can correct me.  

 

Our company did this in 2006 - we were able to sell the company  this year along for a handsome profit (to the shareholders) to a large conglomerate this year - with the small company having increased its employee numbers to 300 from 100.  Part of this whole deal was to socialise some of the initial liabilities, but , once again, until we came along and figured out how to make the company profitable it had shut down for more than a year, with employees not having had their money due them for a while before that.

 

Done correctly and legally, creative destruction can be win-win all around.  That some people do it illegally, or inappropriately doesn't mean that the system itself is to blame.  And yes, creatively passing on some liability on the social sector [i]is[/i] very much a part of the deal - you have to look at it in the wider context of society, restructuring a failed company does mean job creation for that local society as a whole.

You are correct sir.

(#272969)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

Catch, the dead giveaway that I wasn't playing defense is the use of the term "creative destruction", which is utterly necessary and to be lauded. If it helps any, though, the term "vulture capitalist" is actually really appropriate. It's a vitally important ecological niche.

There are worthwhile practices and unnecessary ones

(#272979)

I spelled out the specific worry re: Bain above.  

 

In general, the worry is that conservatives worship any and all private sector activities and don't bother to distinguish between the worthy and unworthy ones. I don't see that you've avoided that standard critique of conservatism here.

 

For example, calling taxpayer bailouts of pension obligations "creative destruction" doesn't show a passing interest in appraising Bain's activities or venture capital's effects on the economy in general.

 

According to Dean Baker and others, there haven't been many systematic studies of the issue, so a reasonable person would regard it as an entirely open question whether vulture capital firms have had a good impact or not. Your pronouncements in the absence of evidence, especially on Romney's firm in particular, appear to be nothing more than than a statement of religious belief. 

Tell Dean.....

(#272981)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

.."you're welcome" for me: https://members.weforum.org/pdf/cgi/pe/Full_Report.pdf

 

Of note:

Putting it all together
While each study has its own distinct focus, and – as
acknowledged above – there is a need for further study into
various topics and across different geographies, the project
has important implications for how to think about the role that
private equity plays in the economy. To the authors, four
broader (albeit tentative) observations emerge from the works:


• The substantial periods that firms remain under private
equity control, the robust long-run investments in
innovation as measured by patents and the flexible
governance structures (with small boards dominated by
managers and investors) appear consistent with the view
that the LBO organizational form is a long-run governance
structure for many firms.


• The employment study has mixed results. It suggests that
employment falls more rapidly at target establishments
post-transaction. At the same time, private equity targets
engage in more greenfield job creation than controls.
Private equity also accelerates the pace of acquisitions
and divestitures. These results regarding private equity’s
impact on employment – as well as those in the innovation
study – fit the view that private equity groups act as
catalysts for change in the economy.

 

• The discussion of many aspects of private equity’s impact
on the economy has been characterized by confusion along
many dimensions. As the employment study highlights,
the evidence supports neither the apocalyptic claims of
extensive job destruction nor arguments that private equity
funds create huge amounts of domestic employment.


• Although LBO transactions outside North America and
Western Europe only accounted for approximately 12%
of global LBO transactions in number and 9% in value
over the period from 2001 to 2007, private equity activity
in emerging economies is expanding and maturing,
particularly for minority and growth capital investments.
As illustrated by the cases, there are different sets of
dynamics in place for domestic and global private equity
players in China and India.

 

All of which stands to reason.  The bit that interests me, of course, is the "creative destruction" bit.  Either the company can be improved or it goes away.  I would not, all things considered, expect that process to generate tons of net jobs directly.

Thanks for the link, BG

(#273017)

One reason I didn’t find the study particularly persuasive after looking it over is that there was only one discussion in all their case studies of pension obligations, and in the case they examined there was no issue of offloading costs onto taxpayers.

 

That’s reason to believe they didn’t have a representative sample, given a steady stream of stories like Bain’s and e.g. http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/cepr-blog/sun-capital-friendlys

I can agree that the proper measure of venture capital firms is not direct employment #s. The best measure is whether they increase efficiency, and an overall valuation means weighing positives against negatives. Your “creative destruction” talk is just one positive outcome of venture capital firms, it’s not an overall assessment that takes into account the means by which the destruction takes place.

 

The relevant question – which the study didn’t systematically address or even really formulate – is whether venture capital firms profit more from increasing efficiency or more from burdening others with costs and collecting rents. The answer still seems up for grabs in general and certainly if it’s applied to any given firm like Romney’s Bain.

 

Here’s a meta-observation – isn’t one of us is attempting to proportion his beliefs to the best available evidence while the other has prejudged an empirical question in precisely the way a prominent and simplistic political ideology would recommend? (Yes, that's just a fancy way of calling you a conservative simpleton).

Re: meta

(#273022)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

If it were the only such study, if there were no theoretical underpinning or if I were discernibly "conservative" I might agree with you. http://www.nber.org/papers/w17399

"Conservative simpleton"

(#273019)
mmghosh's picture

I'm not complaining about the idea of markets

(#272953)

or anything that systemic. But there is the question of how they're structured in particular and whetehr that's to society's benefit.

 

And absolutely there is in theory nothing wrong with venture capital firms. In practice it's not obvious that they are a net value to the economy, precisely b/c of the type of factors I mentioned above - offloading pension obligations onto taxpayers, dwarfing a company with debt, and then pocketing large sums despite not saving a given company.

 

Few in the US need to be convinced of capitalisms upsides. It's the failure of conservatives to imagine that any market structure is suboptimal and to forever praise the private sector regardless of the facts. I suggest that's what Bernard is essentially assuming here, since he doesn't seem particularly familiar with any of the details. 

 

 

How so?

(#272870)

What did Bain do that was worthwhile?

Normal people, Bernard nt

(#272866)
HankP's picture

.

I blame it all on the Internet

Normal people....

(#272936)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

.....have IQs within a handful of points of 100.  I remain unimpressed. :^)

I don't care if you're impressed or not

(#272939)
HankP's picture

they outnumber and outvote you by quite a large margin.

I blame it all on the Internet

Given that Romney...

(#272968)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

....has the nomination locked and is running roughly even with Barry, one of your underlying assumptions seems to be of questionable validity.

A nomination is not the Presidency

(#272990)
HankP's picture

and polls this far out are useless. From what I've seen of Romney, he's not a bad politician as long as everything follows the plan. He doesn't deal well with surprises, though.

I blame it all on the Internet

FWIW, that's....

(#272995)
Bernard Guerrero's picture

....the most troubling complaint I've heard about him so far.

"Thanks For The New Cash Source, Rick!"

(#272780)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Perry donor defects to Romney, citing anti-capitalist rhetoric.

If Perry and Gingrich were intentionally blowing up their campaigns in a way designed to boost Romney, it's hard to see how they could do the job any better than they're managing now.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Managing to not get votes, not just one variable

(#272788)
brutusettu's picture

But if people like the dude that sweeps in, sells off people's vocations, and keeps the loot for himself, what's not to like about that guy?

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."

 

Frank Zappa

Penalty For Bad Acting In North Korea: Six Months Hard Labor

(#272778)
M Scott Eiland's picture

"You are useress, Arec Bardwin!"''

Assuming some degree of proportionality, Pauly Shore would be looking at summary execution via fire ants and honey badgers should he ever travel north of the DMZ.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I confess

(#272769)
Bird Dog's picture

I do not have warm feelings toward hyperpartisan hypocrites, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is right up there, shoulder-to-shoulder with my good buddy Harry Reid. Although Obama pledged a "new tone" in Washington, he chose as DNC chair with one of the oldest tones in the Beltway. Every time I hear her nasally, grating voice, I get flashbacks to Crossfire episodes. First, her ridiculously stupid spin that Romney underperformed at the Iowa caucuses, where a tie is talking-pointed as a loss.

 

“I think it was a pretty bad night, actually, for Mitt Romney — a great night for us,” said DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Fox News, firmly denying the suggestion that Romney’s narrow victory confirmed the Obama camp’s worst nightmare.

“For Mitt Romney, it’s a really tough situation for him because a win is a … loss when he’s spent six years and more than $4 million running for the second time trying to win the state of Iowa, and you spent the most and only beat the person who spent the least by 8 votes,” the Florida congresswoman said. “That demonstrates just how little support there is on the Republican side and the little enthusiasm there is for Mitt Romney’s candidacy, and he’s limping into New Hampshire and I think he’s really damaged.”

She added, “Eight votes against the person who spent the least — not quite a victory.”

Romney spent considerably less time in Iowa than four years ago. Although he and his SuperPACs did spend some chunks of money, Romney spent less than Gingrich, Paul and Perry on a cost-per-vote basis (link). Iowa was much more low-key for Romney this time around, and it paid off. Next, Debbie Downer's take on Romney's victory in New Hampshire.

And I think Mitt Romney was at 39 percent – I mean this is ostensibly his home state. He's got a family home here, he was governor of the state next door. So to not crack 40 percent in a primary that you should have droves of Republicans coming to the polls to vote for you, that's a problem. But he's here as a – he came out of this primary now as a wounded candidate.

So, a 17-point victory makes Romney a "wounded candidate". In 2008, Romney lost to McCain 37-31. Finally, while calling for people to "tone things down", DWS falsely and dishonestly ties such rhetoric to the Tucson shootings. She "hesitates to place blame" (yeah, right) and then goes on to blame the Tea Party movement for all this harsh rhetoric.

 

 

This from the verysame person who said that Republicans "want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws." Uncivil discourse for she but not for thee. Yep, I really do not have warm feelings for that woman.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

That's fine...

(#272773)

And maybe Iowa wasn't a bad night for ol' Mittens. But the Obama camp has to love Gingrich's 30-minute hatefest unloaded on Romney and his time at Bain Capital. I think Romney will be the Republican nominee: congratulations to Newt and Company on their efforts to deliver a sorely wounded candidate.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

King of Bain is a complete backfire

(#272802)
Bird Dog's picture

Kessler skewered it, giving it 4 Pinocchios, i.e., it had multiplie whoppers. The video well demonstrates that Gingrich does not have the temperament for POTUS. His supporters, whoever is left, should flee that campaign after seeing that muck. If Obama tried to pull something like that, I might have an unkind thing or two to say about it.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I haven't sat through the video,

(#272803)

and frankly I have no intention of doing so. Nonetheless, your assessment doesn't surprise me. A few more hit pieces like this, though, and I wonder if the GOP will still feel that Citizens United was such a big win for Team Republican.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

"the hit piece"

(#272828)
brutusettu's picture

The NG PAC might as well had giant flashing text informing people that they're seeing a lie related to Bain/Romney. The NG PAC couldn't have done a better job of mixing the Bain/Romney situation with a specter of "lies" surrounding it.

---But in the reactions by Rudy and others, they're going Full Economic Darwinism as job creation, no one* goes full Full Economic Darwinism as a job creator.

*hopefully

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."

 

Frank Zappa

Glorified Cowpox

(#272779)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Gingrich and Perry didn't say anything that Obama wouldn't have said later, with more money behind it. Perry's about to get a metaphorical bullet in the back of the head in South Carolina, and Gingrich won't be far behind--he's ticking off way too many Republicans with his anti-capitalist flailing for him to do well after SC.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I've wondered the same thing, frankly:

(#272800)

Does the attack from Gingrich now serve to immunize Romney later? Beats the heck out of me. It depends on how well the Romney camp handles this. In my opinion, going on about how he enjoys firing people (yes, I know he meant companies) and his statement that income inequality should be "talked about in a quiet room" portend that the answer's going to be "not well."

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Kerry seemed to get recurring cases

(#272801)

of flip flopperitis and not a real war hero syndrome. No one case conferred immunity.


 


An al Gore still has a millionty billion big mansions and leaves the lights on in the bathroom all the time.

Haley Barbour goes crazy

(#272761)
HankP's picture

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour pardons nearly 200, including convicted killers

 

I have no idea what the hell is going on down in Mississippi. I could understand pardoning or commuting the sentence of non-violent offenders, or commuting the sentence of murderers to life in prison, but some of these pardons and releases just make no sense that I can see.

 

FTR, this liberal believes that execution is a power that should not be granted to the state, but the penalty for murder should be life in prison with no exceptions and no parole.

I blame it all on the Internet

Not all that bizarre

(#272792)

It appears that a lot of those pardoned for violent offenses were already out,  or were doing things like working in the governor's mansion under some kind of work-release program. Either way somebody other than Barbour had already decided they weren't all that dangerous. And the old comeback of "how about we release them in your neighborhood" doesn't work here, Barbour was willing to have them released inside his own house.

Public safety aside, the pardons might offend your sense of justice, but it's easy to make a statement like "life, no parole, no exceptions" in the abstract, less so when you've got all the details of a case in front of you.  Although the number of pardons in this case is huge, the timing isn't unusual, executives tend to issue a lot of last minute pardons.

I guess he believes in redemption.

(#272768)

No death row rescues though and doing it after leaving a term limited position seems a little cowardly.

Well Maybe. . .Yeah, You're Right On This One

(#272762)
M Scott Eiland's picture

I'm not even going to try to justify this--it's a bizarre enough outburst of abused executive power that I'd really like to know more about the motivation for it so that I can be appropriately outraged. I'd be willing to bet that any number of reporters will be trying to prove that a bribe or bribes was involved, particularly given the lack of prior history of leniency against murderers on his part (the linked article noted that nine executions have taken place in Mississippi during his time in office, with zero commuted death sentences).

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Did you see why he did it?

(#272781)
stinerman's picture

There is a very good motiviation for a few.

The statement, reported by WTVA of Tupelo, went on to say 13 of the 26 inmates released from custody cost the state a lot of money due to their medical expenses and can be returned to custody if they commit another crime.

Source [my emphasis]

 

I can't wait until defense attorneys use pre-existing conditions as a means to get a lighter sentence.

 

If this isn't proof positive that we have a serious health care problem in this country, I don't know what does.

The Constitution does not vest in Congress the authority to protect society from every bad act that might befall it. -- Clarence Thomas

A judge blocked some of them

(#272763)
HankP's picture

because he appears to not have followed the proper procedure for publishing prospective pardons before granting them (say that three times fast). Still, it's very strange.

I blame it all on the Internet

If I were a working musician...

(#272708)

I can't see where it would get any better than Mavis Staples teaching me The Weight

__

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Anybody seen...

(#272804)

I am trying to break your heart, the doc about Wilco doing the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album? It's one of the better rock n' roll docs, I think. Some good performances and a classic 3AM scene where there's a weird fight/not fight between a couple of band members. It ends with Jeff Tweedy announcing "I gotta throw up" and literally going out and doing it.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

I'm sorry but I prefer this

(#272760)

I'm sorry but I prefer this version of The Weight, performed by Mavis Staples and the Staples Singers with The Band...

 

[youtube]Z1Ah7tVDlSk[/youtube]

No doubt this was a superior performance by far...

(#272766)

All I'm saying is that it would be an absolute blast to be taught that song (or any other) by Mavis Staples. 

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

I got to share a couple drinks with Levon Helm

(#272764)
HankP's picture

really nice guy. Rick Danko, not so much.

I blame it all on the Internet

Danko was a troubled soul...

(#272767)

there was some talent there, but he did his best to hide it under the alcohol and drugs.

 

Levon Helm, OTOH, is one class act, and under-rated as a drummer and singer. I won't bore you guys with how underappreciated i think The Band is and how much modern music they've influenced.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)