Thursday, October 26, 2006

Marginalizing Sharing

Whenever I take my older child, a near two-year old, out to the park or library, I invariably have to deal with idiotic local parents. One thing I absolutely can’t stand is them screaming at their kids to “share”. Some child will be playing with a ball or Matchbox car, my son will run up, articulate some curiosity in the toy and then the same scene erupts, every single day.

"Adam, share your car!"

"Alyssa, no one will want to play with you if you don’t share!"

"Buckley (actual name I heard the other day), you have one, give him the other!"

Many of these Moronic parents make such a ruckus over this nonsense simply because I, and other parents, am there. Remember, these days parents are all about themselves and they most certainly don’t want their peers thinking they are derelict - especially in groupthink-plagued Boston.

Yes, it’s not the worst thing in the world to say "share". But do it once and don’t make such a big deal about it.

But quite frankly I am AGAINST SHARING. Sometimes I quip at these stupid blathering parents, "That’s okay, we don’t believe in sharing". They smile and erroneously assume I jest.

How are you helping your kid by inculcating the lesson that they are entitled to what others possess?

If there is something my son wants, then he should figure out how to acquire it for himself. He can mow the lawn for instance to earn some money. I have already got my son doing housework and he won’t be two for a month.

Now say my son ran up and procured a toy from little Jacob at the park. He would be wrong to do this and would be admonished, BUT he’d be teaching Jake an important life lesson, namely that people are always going to try to take his things. The same applies to my son. Others will try to dispossess him throughout his life. Shouldn't he be prepared for this and know how to protect himself?

Another example.

At the supermarket I shop at in West Roxbury, every weekend there are kids PANHANDLING out front – asking for donations to support their baseball, basketball, or other youth sports team. What kind of crap is this? Have a bake sale or a raffle, get a local business to sponsor your team, or perhaps have your parents pay for the activity.

Let me emphasize that these are not underprivileged kids. They are middle-class white kids, standing there in uniform with usually a father or two nearby. Next time I may holler at the dad,

"What the heck kind of a parent teaches their kid to beg?!?!?!?!"

Yeah people in Boston are SOOOOO smart, teaching their kids a sense of entitlement and dependency.

What could possibly be worse than depriving young children of their full human potential?

SHARING is for Commi’s.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Google and YouTube

How could I possibly leave this story unmentioned on my blog?

Around September 28th, 2006,

Mark Cuban: Only a ‘Moron’ Would Buy YouTube

Cuban said "anyone who buys that (YouTube) is a moron" because of potential lawsuits from copyright violations.

Fast forward to October 9th, 2006,

Google To Acquire YouTube for $1.65 Billion in Stock.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., October 9, 2006 - Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that it has agreed to acquire YouTube, the consumer media company for people to watch and share original videos through a Web experience, for $1.65 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction. Following the acquisition, YouTube will operate independently to preserve its successful brand and passionate community.

Remember, Google is the only stock I own. I am 8% Google and 92% cash. That covers everything, including retirement accounts.

So is Google a Moron as Cuban exclaimed?

Right now, nobody knows. Only time will tell. The blogosphere is abuzz with discussion of this deal, much of it very detailed. A good place to start is actually Mark Cuban’s blog,

Be sure to read the comment thread if you’re interested in the business angles of the GooTube combination. Lumpen posters bring up some very interesting points such as:

How can YouTube sell ads in block when the advertisers won’t know what's going to be on the clips. What image conscious corporations want their to be placed above the popular soft porn clip-o-the-day? (Then again, Desperate Housewives has no shortage of sponsors)

Will Google fight with or try to share revenue with Big Media content holders claiming copyright infringement?

Will YouTube start sharing ad revenue with the amateur video posters?

Couldn’t YouTube just make uploaders personally liable for any copyright infringement? In that sense, make YouTube just a hosting site?

Also Forbes published a very edifying article on YouTube just before the deal was announced.

Here’s my take.

First of all, as a Google shareholder, I am getting sick and tired of these share dilutions. Pay cash for YouTube or borrow the money to buy it. Every chance these guys get they float more stock. The YouTube deal is at least the third, if not the fourth dilution in the past couple of years. Furthermore, I don’t have the hard numbers to back this up, but I hear that Google recklessly doles out stock and stock options to its employees. I don't look forward to them having to buy back stock at $1,000 per share to stem option dilution. Prior world conquering tech giants like Microsoft climbed a lot more than Google’s 400% before their management started acting so arrogant.

Google’s market cap is today $145 billion, so the $1.65 billion YouTube dilution is statistically insignificant. I just don’t like the arrogance too easily inferred by many of the Google headlines these days. Google's conceit has grown from noticeable to palpable and now to edible!

The core of Google’s biz is and will remain paid search. That story is still in tact and so far nothing has swayed my contention that,

I figure about one in twenty people I know googles regularly. The people that do google constitute a young and growing demographic, those that don’t are obviously the dying geriatric Luddites. In five years, I don’t think it is an outrageous prediction to think that three out of 20 people I know will be googling regularly. That conservative forecast would triple the number of googlers and I believe it would also increase the price-point of all keywords. Let me reiterate, three in twenty googling would be extremely conservative – almost to the point to certainty.

Google was around $420 per share when the deal was rumored and then shortly thereafter announced. Today it’s $477. Now does that mean the market believes GooTube will be a powerful combination?


The stock may have been itching to go up anyway. The overall market has been strong. Also Google’s earnings continue to surprise on the upside. So ignore the knee-jerk media reactions and prognostications.

Remember AOL/Time Warner hit near $110 when that merger was first announced (before falling to almost $10).

Has Skype paid off for eBay? Remember they shelled out $2.6 billion.

I once called Mark Cuban intellectually incontinent. But it may be more accurate to say he is an intellectual playboy. He shoots from the hip, never bogging down his thoughts with formalities like topic sentences followed by supporting evidence. One has to glean his points and profundity - but they're there. He has the Perma-Credibility inherent in owning a very successful sports team and sitting on billions in cash. Like Hugh Hefner, many a young man dreams of being Mark Cuban. Heck I wouldn't mind doing an asset swap with him myself.

Cuban certainly has firsthand knowledge of worthless billion dollar acquisitions. Click here if somehow you don't know his story - then, crawl out from under that rock.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dr. Greg Mankiw, The Harvard Economist, Marginalizing Himself

Last week, Dr. Greg Mankiw wrote an intellectually abominable piece in the Wall Street Journal titled Raise the Gas Tax.

He wants the gas tax raised by $1 per gallon. (It’s already around 40 cents).

His reasons were roughly:

1) The Environment
2) Road Congestion
3) Regulatory Relief
4) The Budget
5) Tax Incidence
6) Economic Growth
7) National Security

Here is my presently unanswered comment on his blog,

CaptiousNut said... Putting aside whether or not Mankiw's list of benefits is realistic or desirable, am I wrong, or wouldn't capping fuel efficiency at say 16 mpg achieve every single one of his objectives?

Of course it would deprive pols of tax money to squander, lavish on special interests, and redistribute.

The professor thinks the only way to alter behavior is by taxing gasoline. As my comment illustrates - it clearly isn’t. But let’s probe his ridiculous article some more.

His first reason, "The environment" centers upon global warming. I don’t want to indulge this argument now since it’s been debunked aplenty on my blog. Human induced global warming is light years from established fact, it’s all at once a pathology, a religious superstition, and a trendy climate theory.

Since 1895, the media has alternated between global cooling and warming scares during four separate and sometimes overlapping time periods. From 1895 until the 1930’s the media peddled a coming ice age.

From the late 1920’s until the 1960’s they warned of global warming. From the 1950’s until the 1970’s they warned us again of a coming ice age. This makes modern global warming the fourth estate’s fourth attempt to promote opposing climate change fears during the last 100 years.

Check out 2), directly from Mankiw’s article.

Road congestion. Every time I am stuck in traffic, I wish my fellow motorists would drive less, perhaps by living closer to where they work or by taking public transport. A higher gas tax would give all of us the incentive to do just that, reducing congestion on streets and highways.

Did you get that? Traffic is a personal burden to Mankiw. Perhaps we should all clear the road so he doesn’t get bogged down. Everyone else is inconsiderate and needs to live closer to work or take the bus. What unabashed snobbery. When you are mired in traffic, do you just think "Boy, gridlock sucks" or do you start hating on nearby drivers? If you fall into the later category, congratulations, you have solid elitist potential!

There are plenty of homes in Cambridge, yet Mankiw lives in Wellesley, a nearby town not very well connected to Harvard via mass transit. He’s actually my neighbor but we don’t hang out much.

In point 3), Mankiw inveighs against federal CAFE standards.

From Wikipedia,

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations in the United States, first enacted by Congress in 1975, exist to regulate and improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks (trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles) sold in the US in the wake of the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo.

But in his article, Mankiw fails to make the childishly obvious point that fuel efficiency does the very opposite of what his $1 per gallon gas tax aspires to. More specifically, fuel efficiency makes driving cheaper, and encourages more drivers living far away to descend on Greg’s path and retard his commute. While ignoring the obvious issue with CAFE, Mankiw instead chose to blame it for the dreaded SUV, bogeyman of Morons everywhere. Then his last sentence under this point was a doozie.

A higher gas tax would accomplish everything CAFE standards do, but without the adverse side effects.

What? It endeavors the OPPOSITE of what CAFE standards are supposed to do. His tax would raise the cost of driving, whilst CAFE seeks to lower it. How then can the tax possibly "accomplish everything CAFE standards do"?

Can this really be a Harvard economist?

He’s caught in the quandary of today’s self-righteous environmentalist. For them, the little car is the mandatory badge of Earth-love, but they also want to inveigh broadly against driving. Unfortunately, little cars enable people to drive cheaply, live far from work, and perhaps even frustrate a tardy professor’s commute.

True environmentalists should advocate for FUEL INEFFICIENCY.

It’s one thing for the typical pot-smoking, trust funded, government working, tree hugger to juggle such hypocrisy and illogic, but quite another for an economist at our most esteemed college. The hippie can wallow quietly in their ignorant mysticism, but a professor at Harvard, at some point has to formally articulate his beliefs.

(Yeah, me too. I also wish the hippies actually were quiet.)

Reason 4) The Budget. After accurately identifying our budgetary albatrosses (Social Security and Medicare), Mankiw posits says that his gas tax would "make a dent". First of all, why not fix the problems directly? I hesitate to even dignify further this non-argument. By this logic, because the government is profligate and makes promises it can’t keep, then any new tax is kosher?

Reason 5),

Tax incidence. A basic principle of tax analysis -- taught in most freshman economics courses -- is that the burden of a tax is shared by consumer and producer. In this case, as a higher gas tax discouraged oil consumption, the price of oil would fall in world markets. As a result, the price of gas to consumers would rise by less than the increase in the tax. Some of the tax would in effect be paid by Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Don’t worry consumers, it really is only an 85 cent tax. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela will pay 15 cents of it. Don’t you feel better now?

Now that’s it. That is his entire discussion of tax incidence. Apparently higher gas taxes won’t raise the cost of food, shipping, furniture, a plumber’s visit, or anything else. Just 85 cents for you and 15 cents for Hugo and Prince Muhammad. What a joke.

Mankiw’s blog is nauseatingly riddled with discussions of progressive taxes and the Commi-speak “income inequality”. A google of his fledgling blog already turns up 21 posts on the latter.

Yet when it comes to taxes that might free up his personal roadways, he forgets all about lower income folk. A $1 per gallon tax on gasoline obviously hurts the poor disproportionately since fuel costs represent a larger percentage of their incomes. Apparently his compassion has an on/off switch.

Next up, point 6),

Economic growth. Public finance experts have long preached that consumption taxes are better than income taxes for long-run economic growth, because income taxes discourage saving and investment. Gas is a component of consumption. An increased reliance on gas taxes over income taxes would make the tax code more favorable to growth. It would also encourage firms to devote more R&D spending to the search for gasoline substitutes.

Apparently, since we all should simply be resigned to higher taxes, Mankiw thinks that just because a consumption tax is better than an income tax he has posited an argument for taxing the bejesus out of gasoline. This is typical False Comparison disputation. I am quite certain that Economic growth would be better behooved by leaving the gas tax alone or dare I say, reducing it. Greg compared one evil to a greater one. What scholarship!

Conundrum, hmmm? Boost interest rates, I must.

National security. Alan Greenspan called for higher gas taxes recently. "It's a national security issue," he said. It is hard to judge how much high oil consumption drives U.S. involvement in Middle Eastern politics. But Mr. Greenspan may well be right that the gas tax is an economic policy with positive spillovers to foreign affairs.

A Greenspan quote? Is that supposed to bring gravitas? Here's what this is. Greg wanted to trot out his own personal conspiracy theory of oil consumption subsidizing "Middle Eastern politics" - whatever the heck that nebulous animal is. BUT, he lacked the stones to say it himself and opted to mask his tripe in a quote from Yoda.

Anyway, combine Greenspan’s "It’s hard to judge" with Mankiw’s "...may well be right..." and all you’ve got is empty weasel-speak.

Mankiw concludes his vapid prose with an inanity quite on par with the preceding ones.

Even after a $1 hike, the U.S. gas tax would still be less than half the level in, say, Great Britain, which last I checked is still a democracy.

What is that a fourth or fifth grade argument? I have been out of school so long and standards seem to have deteriorated, so I just can't tell these days.

Americans hate taxes not because they think infrastructure and security are costless, but rather because they know pols simply waste it on pork, redistribution, elitist utopian dreams, and the corrupt solidification of their own incumbency.

Make no mistake, the Big Government socialists control the debate. Tax debate in this country is wholly centered upon class warfare and how high taxes should be. Ideally, WSJ editorials from alleged capitalists would take aim at how to more efficiently run government with the plentiful monies it already confiscates.

Just consider these already voiced plans for new gasoline tax revenue.

The New York Times wants to redistribute the money to poor people

Hillary Clinton wants to use the money to fund alternative energy development.

And now Greg Mankiw wants to use the money to pay down the deficit.

Okay let's get back to my unanswered comment

CaptiousNut said... Putting aside whether or not Mankiw's list of benefits is realistic or desirable, am I wrong, or wouldn't capping fuel efficiency at say 16 mpg achieve every single one of his objectives? Of course it would deprive pols of tax money to squander, lavish on special interests, and redistribute.

Even though Greg has deigned to respond twice in the comment section of his post (which may be a record for him), he predictably hasn't responded to mine - nor has anyone else.

It was a bit of a rash overstatement on my part to say that capping fuel efficiency would achieve "every single one of his objectives". The thrust of my criticism was towards, I guess really the only legitimate objective - dampening congestion (ignoring its supercilious presentation). Since every commenter has ignored his cockamamie suggestions that a higher gasoline tax would pacify the Mid-East, pay down the budget, grow the economy, etc., I was not alone in centering my initial criticism on the congestion angle.

Gasoline is by its very essence, a tax on driving (and the economy).

Automotive fuel efficiency is therefore a TAX LOOPHOLE.

So what really causes global warming? Is it the little car or the 6mpg recycling truck?

Just about every thing on this planet has negative externalities but if you listened to denizens of the ivory tower, they'd have you believe that only SUVs had them.

Incredibly, positive externalities only get mentioned when these guys are talking about themselves.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Boston Without Alcohol

From my Boston and Alcohol post last year,

I could go on considerably longer about the Pilgrim-esque alcohol policies up here such as how anal they are with booze at wedding receptions, the paucity of liquor licenses stunting new restaurant development, etc. Remember, Bostonians don’t believe in personal responsibility. It is always someone else’s fault, the bartender’s, the liquor store’s,... Beer, like oil, guns, and SUVs, is a favorite scapegoat.

First off, I don't make a habit out of reading the Boston Globe but the cover story caught my eye this morning.

Liquor licensing spawns a clash of political wills

Prices on liquor licenses in Boston have more than doubled a year after the city ran up against a state limit on the number of licenses it can issue.

With a growing pool of would-be restaurateurs and club owners trying to outbid one another for the few licenses coming available as establishments go out of business, the amounts being fetched have soared into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Those prices are well out of reach for many small operators, and some industry observers fear that restaurateurs will give up or bypass Boston to open new establishments in the suburbs.

Beacon Hill has regulated the number of liquor licenses Boston can hand out since 1906, when a Yankee-controlled Legislature, distrusting Boston's Irish elected officials and fueled by Puritan beliefs about alcohol, limited licenses in Boston and required an amendment of state law to change it. Elsewhere in the state, the number of licenses is tied to population growth, triggering automatic increases.

Alright I was slightly off, I said Pilgrim-esque instead of Puritan. What a wonderfully progressive city that has 100 year old liquor laws. Now I think liquor is a dubious target of regulation in the first place, but c'mon update the law already.

The article also has a funny part about a feud between the mayor and a Naysaying councilman.

Since January, when Menino first floated a proposal for 60 new beer and wine licenses but no all-alcohol licenses at the Legislature, the city has rewritten its proposal several times. Each time, officials say, Morrissey has rebuffed them. Things turned particularly ugly after a meeting at the State House in April, several city officials who attended said, when Morrissey was late and spoke condescendingly to the mayor.

Menino says only that he hopes to work with Morrissey to reach a compromise.

Morrissey says he's always late to meetings and doesn't remember being condescending. He concedes that he harbors some anger toward the mayor, who instituted new fees last year for suburban boat owners who want to use city docks. Morrissey is a boat owner and counts many boat owners among his constituents, but he said that has nothing to do with his stance on liquor licenses.

Haha. You taxed my boat so all of Boston must suffer with fewer restaurant choices and pricier alcohol.

Now I want to highlight a stock Moron debating tactic. In arguing for the century-old, unprogressive, economic retarding status quo, the pissed-off boat owner trots out,

"Don't you think Legal Sea Foods would be a little [angry]?" Morrissey said. "They played by the rules and what did it get them? $240,000 in start-up costs."

Now, do you think that a fossilized hack Councilman from Quincy, Massachusetts really is pro-business? He clearly is not. This is just a deflection. He is anti-new businesses trying to get liquor licenses. He is anti-Legal Seafoods as well. Legal Seafoods would rather have paid say $100,000 for that license whose cost pols like Morrissey drove up in the first place.

Legal Seafoods, like most other businesses would like to expand and pay much less for their next license.

Presumably, all Bostonians would like more, cheap restaurants.

What's amazing is that piss-poor arguments like "It's unfair to Legal Seafoods" don't get duly shredded.

A few weeks ago I played golf with a group of very successful professionals. These were level-headed, intelligent folk. The subject of taxi costs came up. These guys simply could not believe that a cab from my house to Logan Airport, a mere 10 mile trip, costs $50. I calmly explained why and gave my prescription of "floating more medallions and lowering the legal rates and tolls" and there were no absolutely no respondents save one. He said to me,

"If they float more medallions, it wouldn't be fair to those that currently own them..."

No sh*t Sherlock. Apparently he thought it fair that consumers spend $50 on short cab trips.

I have alluded to this concept before. Specifically how economically illiterate Morons can usually only see intended or surface-level consequences but they fail to realize wider, long-term effects.

Every issue, idea, or proposal theoretically speaking, has two columns. Costs and Benefits. Positives and Negatives. Pro and Cons...... However you want to dichotomize them.

Most Morons can only see the column of their choosing.

For example. Somebody I know is a real global warming worrywart. Out of the blue I said to him,

"What are the arguments against human-induced climate change".

Let's just say that I didn't get much of an answer. So I prodded further,

"Don't you think you should at least be aware of what the counter-arguments are?"

Boston is a tough town to live in.

It's even tougher to take sober and hungry.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Back From Naples

Alright, I am fresh back from my annual golf trip to Naples, Florida. Listen to how bad real estate is down there.

One of my golf buddies is a member at the Island Country Club on Marco Island. Last year, due to the frothy real estate market no doubt, his club had 22 people on the wait list to get in. Because of which, they raised the membership fee from $70,000 to $90,000. But one year later the situation reversed with now 12 people on the waitlist to GET OUT of the club. (When someone leaves, they get a percentage of their fee back, but not until someone else joins to take their spot.)

My friend actually lives on the Hammock Bay development. The golf course there is down to a mere 70 members – which really sucks when those not infrequent assessments get handed down. Incidentally, my buddy has been trying to sell his condo for 8 months; it’s not moving despite being “the cheapest one in the development” (675k for 2000 square feet).

Is this just a mere downtick in the Florida real estate market? After all, they say that 1,000 people move to the Sunshine state each day. I doubt it simply because they are still building everywhere you look. On the Classic Course at Lely it seemed like they were just getting started on a couple hundred more new homes. There’s also a massive new mall going in near the airport that’s really just under way. And just about every development that I saw was still advertising a “Phase 4” extension. Existing homes in most parts of Florida will be competing with new construction for a very long time. Good luck to anyone that buys now.

What ever happened to all of those ominous hurricane predictions for 2006 anyway?

William Gray, noted storm forecaster said earlier this year,

At the beginning of the 2006 season, the Colorado State team predicted there would be 17 tropical storms and said nine would turn into hurricanes with sustained winds of 74 miles per hour (119 km per hour) or more.

It said five would be "major" hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with sustained winds of at least 111 mph (179 kph) and capable of causing some structural damage to buildings. Only two of this year's hurricanes have reached Category 3 status and none of the five hit the United States.

But yesterday, he had the stones to predict: Atlantic Hurricane Season Over.

The season is "over? Thanks for the value-added, Willy. What next, is he going to predict yesterday's high temperature?

Speaking of alarmist weather predictions, Al Gore recently said that cigarette smoking is a "significant" contributor to global warming. No, I am not kidding. Next up, he's going to indict human flatulence as an assault on Mother Nature's constant temperature. My old man will, without question, be number one on that chopping block!

That article concludes with this noteworthy claim.

NewsMax requested from UNTV an audio copy of Gore's address.

At first, NewsMax was told a copy would be provided by the U.N. audio library.

Later, NewsMax was told that copies of the Gore speech would not be available.

"We destroyed all copies of the speech, except for one master which cannot be released," explained one audio librarian.

Dujarric added: "The Gore speech was copyrighted and therefore we cannot release any copies of it."

The formerly "open" address, has now been reclassifed in the UN files as "a closed meeting."

First of all, the UN is not a sovereign entity. It is funded mostly by American tax dollars. How the heck can it be immune from public accountability? These people are fascists.

Gore was an 8 year vice president. If he misspoke, he should clarify what he meant. At least that's the theoretical tack of civilized adults. Having your compadres withold the record is indeed fascist.

Often times, nutjobs and elitist scumbags slip up and tell us what they really think - and a full-press cover-up ensues. Here's another example that I recently gleaned from John Gatto's Underground History of Education.

Along the way to this milestone, important way stations were reached beyond the scope of this book to list. The strand I’ve shown is only one of many in the tapestry. The psychological goals of this project and the quality of mind in back of them are caught fairly in the keynote address to the 1973 Childhood International Education Seminar in Boulder, Colorado, delivered by Harvard psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce. This quote appears to have been edited out of printed transcripts of the talk, but was reported by newspapers in actual attendance:

Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well—by creating the international child of the future.

Anyone else want to throw up? Remember this was a keynote at a major education conference. Instead of taking a route of disavowal or clarification, they opted to expunge the record.

When my wife’s firm confoundingly moved operations to Boston, all of the high level executives moved to the tony town of Wellesley. We laughed at them for such egregious herd-like behavior but later on realized why they did so. Apparently Wellesley is the only town around here that is not chockfull of socialists. So how good is this oasis? Listen to this recent conversation between my wife and a new Wellesley resident.

ExecutiveThat’s it...We are leaving here soon.

C-Nut’s WifeWhy? I thought you liked where you lived?

ExecutiveOnce my son is done school, I am quitting and moving. Supposedly we live in the most conservative, capitalistic town....I just found out that my son’s high school is sponsoring a “Transgendered Awareness Day”!!!

These multi-culturalists are really out of control. It just gets to be too much to fight with them and good wholesome people simply move – far away at that. Something like 2 million kids are homeschooled now.

Let me go back to my Naples trip for a second.

It’s always nice to get out of Boston and be amongst real people. For one thing, though a very happily married man, it’s great to see the infinitely more attractive women from the rest of the country at the airports and whatnot. Remember from a prior post I railed against the barely androgynous women of Beantown with their short hair, jeans, baseball caps, and the dearth of makeup and jewelry. (Believe me, there’s NO compensation in the personality department either!)

One of my buddies told me about CNBC that he’d “never seen so many negative young people as constituted by the cast of CNBC” and that, “the market would rally 2,000 points if CNBC were pulled off the air”. I laughed, having long sung this refrain. I am not quite sure about the “2,000 points” but I told him to do what I did and turn the channel off for his own personal chi.

Another guy down there complained to me about CNN. He said, “Man, they are obsessed with Hurricane Katrina...” From incidental glimpses at said channel, I handily saw his gripe – though I haven’t regularly watched CNN in at least 15 years.

What struck me is that neither of these complainers understands why CNBC and CNN utilize these dour tacks. (Hint: they are socialist organs who seek to create, foment, and sustain discontent and for good measure their agitprop indicts socialism’s enemies, you know, those capitalist pigs.)

One of my golf buddies used to work for the now defunct US Airways. He was a baggage handler, making 85k to throw suitcases on a ramp. Asked how much his coworkers stole from luggage he explained,

“Years ago, they took everything. My guys thought there were entitled to whatever they wanted. For instance, when the Celtics once flew with us, I turned around and saw one guy wearing Larry Bird’s game shirt, another was wearing McHale’s. They worked all day in them and then took them home”.

Any wonder why US Airways went under?

A funny from,

BIG BEN NEEDS MORE COW BELLSteelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is recovered from his appendectomy of 15 days ago, but Michelle Tafoya of ESPN reports that Roethlisberger now has a fever (she actually said he has a "temperature" -- but we all do, honey).

Imagine if a sportscaster called someone "honey" on television or radio? Political correctness is certainly a self-inflicted burden on Big Media.

Have you heard the hullabaloo over this season’s Survivor? They divided the strandees into 4 ethnic groups: White, Asian, Latino, and Black. Many race baiting activists got mad and demanded boycotts of the show because it is divisive.

Unfortunately, that can't salvage a trick that is offensive on its face. Survivor has embraced the very essence of discrimination: treating people not as individuals but as members of an ethnically defined group. And the fact that Survivor finally, for the first time, has enough members of those groups to make discrimination viable is hardly a defense.

I think there was a black group, a Latino group, and an Asian group in Manhattan that collaborated to make the loudest (or initial) stink about Survivor’s format. Curiously enough, groups whose entire mission is to segregate themselves apparently see offense in the practice when undertaken by others. Imagine the outcry if someone started a “white-only” political group!!!

The producer of Survivor fired back, claiming that this format would mitigate charges of discrimination because Asians would vote off Asians, Latinos would vote off Latinos, etc. Rather than the possibility of everyone ganging up on one specific person who may be a minority.

Heck when I was at UPenn, I witnessed racial self-segregation at its zenith. Racially themed housing pervaded almost all campus social life. The Chinese didn’t interact with the Japanese (the Koreans hated everybody). Practicing Jews self-segregated at the Hillel House and its functions. Indians separated themselves into castes (seriously) and fought at parties along those lines. One Christian Indian friend felt he had to tuck his cross adorned chain under his shirt at Indian parties. The lily-white Latinos from Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribeean distanced themselves from "Los Negros" – Latinos with any black blood. And the blacks holed themselves up in the W.E.B. DeBois House – which was derisively referred to as "Da Boyz" house by everyone else.

Who isn’t sick of this divisive multicultural crap by now?

Boohbah is a stupid kid show that my son watches on Sprout. Two characters on it are “Brother” and “Sister”. One is Hispanic and the other is Asian. What is that? I have been on the planet for 32 years and conscious for most of the time, but I have never come across a family that had Hispanic and Asian kids. I am sure some exist, but Boohbah is deliberately pushing the idea to children that siblings don’t have to look alike. Kids can't read, write, entertain themselves, tell time on non-digital clocks, or tie shoes without velcro, but at least they have some exposure to an anomalous mixed race family. Well done PBS!!!

Anytime you hear someone say that “diversity is what made us great”, tell them to shut the bleep up. Economic freedom and the rule of law is what made this country what it is today.

Diverse people from all over the globe came here because of our economics liberties – not the other way around or any other such distortion thereof.

Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Democrat nominee for Governor is dead-set against the public voting on gay marriage. His sophistical reason,

“...never let majorities determine the rights of minorities...”

So what Deval, should minorities then have more say than majorities? Seems to be quite a salient into the heart of democracy, no?

Note: Deval (nice name by the way, very Old Testament) needs a majority to elect him Governor before he can start expropriating its rights.

I recently anted up for some high end video editing software. Right away I have been having all sorts of problems with it. I was in a chat help session on Friday and look what the idiot said to me (in an electronic chat session - not over the phone):

ESL Tech Support: are you in front of your own computer right now?

CaptiousNut: how else would i be talking to you?

I burst out laughing at this uber-Moron. It harkened back to a few other incidents fresh in my memory.

I used to work at a golf course in Philadelphia. We advertised and sold "9 inch pizzas" - as the signs explicitly read. Three separate times, I had customers ask me,

Moron - "How big is a 9 inch pizza?"

Once I said it is "about 10 inches", once I said, "8 inches", and once I said it was "approximately 9 inches".

Back when I worked on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, after some office relocating, I realized that I couldn't retrieve my voicemail. So I asked our tech/admin guy, a bumbling geriatric named Artie, if he could get me my new voicemail code. A week later, without a response I tracked Artie down,

CaptiousNut - Artie, did you ever get around to looking up my new voicemail key.

Artie - I sure did. I got the code, called you, and left it on your voicemail.

Now I don't want to sound like one of these clueless idiots that actually complains about the service at McDonalds, but consider my last example.

One of my brokerage firms actually has a stutterer working phone desk support. For anyone unaware, entering stock orders is an extremely time sensitive business. You simply can't have someone choking on every single syllable.

What next? Have the blind direct traffic? The deaf conduct orchestras symphonies? Have the dumb teach at Harvard? There are only a few jobs stutterers absolutely CAN'T DO, and one of them happens to be handling stock orders over the phone.

The end of my wife's maternity leave (and more precisely, our second child) forced us to break down and hire a babysitter. I kid you not when I say that babysitters here in Chestnut Hill want $15 an hour (some much more). Doing some quick math, that annualizes to $30,000 per year. Now consider that sitters get paid cash, so the tax avoidance pushes $15 an hour to more like a $37,500 per year job. That's what my wife pays her new hires AFTER they (or someone else) have paid 150k on college. There's no way I am paying that for someone to change diapers and play with my son. Now, if they are going to teach him advanced number theory and Latin...then that's another story. As it would be if they cooked and cleaned....

But most of them do not. One friend has a nanny and the nanny actually demands that she hire a separate cleaning lady because the exalted nanny doesn't want to work in an unkempt house. My not-so-bright friend acquiesces.

We ended up hiring an undergrad from Boston College. She's an education major and has tons of experience with little incorrigible brats. My son will certainly test the integrity of her resume. We pay her $10 an hour, nonetheless she still drives a car much nicer than either of ours.

Speaking of my offspring. We just baptized my daughter and were granted this semi-appalling story. Though I wore a suit and tie everyday for four years in high school, since then I have been clad like a slob. There was really no dress code on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (jeans and sneakers) and working for myself later on hasn't behooved my wardrobe. It's really tough to get me to dress up - even for my daughter's baptism. It was a warm day and we were serving 30 people food and drink prior to the sacrament. I just didn't feel like getting in a suit and working up a sweat, so I went casual to the church - khaki's, a nice golf shirt, and a blue blazer. As underdressed as I was, consider that a mother (was a group baptism) there actually wore flip flops AND a new godfather there donned jeans and A NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS JERSEY.

This is a typical Boston church; people actually blow you off during the peace offerings. I am not kidding. They act like they don't see you. This is church for crying out loud.

My church also has two collections, EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Talk about Taxachusetts!!!

This week the second collection was for "rising energy costs". I felt like putting my hand up and asking, "But haven't oil and gas just cratered in price?"

About a month ago, I mentioned off-handedly that gasoline prices would soon dip within earshot of one of my mother's friends. Now I don't even remember this specifically, but a few weeks later my mother said to me,

C-Nut's Mother - Betsy was extremely impressed that you knew gas prices would drop.

Did I know gas prices would drop a dollar per gallon? No way. Oil had dropped about $5-$7 off its high and anyone with a three digit IQ could auger a mild price drop at the pump. So why would anyone be shocked and awed by such elementary prescience?

Because they are not only economically-illiterate, but also thoroughly uninformed. I sincerely doubt my mother's friend follows the global price of oil - or even knows that it is a global commodity whose price is set by market factors NOT INCLUDING a devious cabal of Texas Bush cronies.

It is a resoundingly sad indictment of the public that gasoline prices dominate political sentiment.

If only we could somehow illuminate, say the price of public education, the cost of Medicare, or a countdown to Social Security's insolvency on big signs of busy intersections...

As of yet, no one seems to have flinched at this sign.

Obviously more than one is needed.