Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Where in the world did Macron come from?

I don't know how he and his party were created, supported, and elected but there's a story there.
Note: how to pronounce Macron: ma-KRON.

A brief history of Macron's climb to the top of the greasy pole, courtesy of Reuters:

2010: Macron joins Socialist Hollande's entourage.

2012-05-15: Macron named deputy secretary general of Elysee by Hollande. In charge of economic affairs he is Hollande's envoy to G8, G20, and European summits.

2014-06-10: Macron resigns as Hollande's top economic policy advisor.

2014-08-26: Hollande sacks Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg, replaced by Macron.

2015-08-28: Macron goes on the record criticizing France's 35-hour week.

2016-02-11: Premier Valls reshuffles gov't, Macron demoted 2 spaces in cabinet.

2016-04-06: Macron launches "En Marche!" in Amiens (his hometown).

2016-05-28: Macron begins his national campaign.

2016-08-30: Macron resigns from Hollande's government.

2016 Sept: Sources tell Reuters that Macron wants to field candidates in all 577 constituencies for 2017 election.

2016-11-16: Macron officially declares bid for presidency.

2016-11-27: Former PM Fillon wins conservative presidential ticket.

2016-12-01: Hollande announces he will not seek reelection.

2017-01-24: Fillon accused of fake jobs allegations in Le Canard Enchaine.

2017-01-29: Benoit Hamon wins Socialist primaries, Valls eliminated.

2017-04-23: Macron and Le Pen win 1st round of voting for president.

2017-05-05: Friday night thousands of documents were released online targeting Macron, at the beginning of France's blackout period. (See Business Insider for details on leak.)

2017-05-07: Macron wins election, per Reuters "to sighs of relief in Europe."

2017-06-18: En March! wins absolute majority in French parliamentary elections.
Parties supporting Macron will hold 350 of 577 seats in parliament.
Les Republicans and allies will have 137 seats.
Socialist Party reduced to 44.
Communist Party and Unbowed (the far left parties) will have 27.
National Front will have 8 (including Marine Le Pen, elected to French Parliament for 1st time).

2017-06-20: Two ministers quit French government as reshuffle looms. (Reuters)
Armed Forces Minister Sylvie Goulard quit because of an investigation into her center-right Modem party's affairs in European Parliament.
Minister for Territorial Planning, Richard Ferrand, left on Monday, 19 June 2017, who is facing a different judicial probe.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

It's how we weed out the troublemakers

Financial Times on Barclays' CEO Jes Staley:

From Lex

Every other company CEO and board that does not call for Staley to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law should expect their own whistleblowers to go straight to regulators and bypass their own company's procedures. Why should they expect any shielding when Barclays, and Wells Fargo last autumn, are the most recent high profile examples to punish whistleblowing?

Mr Boffo on companies' attitude to whistleblowers

Far Side on company "protections"

Friday, February 24, 2017

Exposed. To short sellers.

Tiptoeing through today's Financial Times

Look who got a shout-out - as a broker!

Words to live by

Martin Wolf on [UK] government intervention in tertiary education

Anjana Ahuja on life outside the solar system, or lack of it
Or, a failure of imagination on homo sapiens end. Make that homo sapiens rhododendron. See also homo sapiens rhodesiensis.

Sometimes the Church of England gets it right, or at least the Bishop of Peterborough

So, three paychecks then?

Continuing along the Pacific Rim: Abe drawn into Japan school land scandal
Way to set the bar high, Japan.
But there's more. 
Or, Prof Honda, Abe was bluffing.

And there's an obituary, for the dearly departed Kenneth Arrow.

Not just Hollywood. Family connections pay off in economics too. Sure, why not.
But Arrow also contributed pithy aphorisms.

I agree. Society's preferences are incoherent.

More from the International section
Stand-off delays state rescue of Italian bank
Surprisingly no mention that the delay is due to Rome being broke. And also not sure how broke it is. Or finding anyone willing to cash a 3rd party out-of-state check.

Catalonia doubts number is up for secession vote
Madrid considers invoking Article 155. Meanwhile, in another part of the house Great Britain is about to invoke Article 50.
All Brussels wants to hear from London: No quiero vivir sin ti. But Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson are yelling from the top of stairs: callate la boca! Lagate! Y vete al diablo.
Brussels is not amused.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

No, that won't work at all

Catching up on this week's Financial Times and the tangents it puts me on.

What is the etymology of but?

The Financial Times has run several articles this past week on former MI-6 Christopher Steele's dossier on Donald Trump.

In most of them they mention, towards the end, that the dossier's contents were shared with journos at a number of publications including the Financial Times.

And the FT couldn't corroborate any of the claims.
Gaius Publius writes how there are at least 5 state actors involved in influencing the 2016 US election:
So who again tried to tilt the field for or against Clinton or Trump? Including Russia, the administration, Comey, agents of the FBI and NY police, the CIA and national security forces, I count five groups.
And points out the Democrats are assisting the Deep State in attempting to overthrow Trump.
But when FBI Director Comey was forced to "investigate" Clinton's secret emails the Dems decried his interference. They did not decry the Obama Administration's interference when he campaigned on behalf of Clinton. They also did not decry Bill Clinton waylaying AG Lynch on a Phoenix airport tarmac.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Green means go

Or, The Big Green Go.
Or, Monday-Friday.

Sometimes the podcast title is the last thing you figure out.

The hardware.

The software.
Pamela (program to record Skype)

Learning to use the hardware. And the audio editing software.
Eliminate the distracting sounds - like breathing into the mic. Or saying ummm.
Level the audio using Levelator.

Creative commons license.
Fair use license.

Putting the show online.
Tagging, compressing, posting.

Hosting files at Archive.org.

Submitting to iTunes.

Going to need a feedburner, like RSS.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Is the glass left half full, or right half full

Lionel Barber writes in the Financial Times:

And he's right about the end of the old left/right divide. When the Bush family and neocons line up with the Democratic Party to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of the Republican Party's Donald Trump - the fault lines have shifted.

Parties have been shifting and evolving since their inception but today's hardcore "FDR Democracts" cannot conceive of being in a party with hardcore Republicans. And the Paul Ryans (Speaker of the House) and Grover Norquists are not any happier finding themselves in the same tent as Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, House Minority Leader) and Charles Schumer (Senator, D-NY).

And yet, both groups will continue to believe they oppose each other. It's true: the more schooling you have, the easier it is to fool you. Consider this quote:
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
—Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, 1841

To show up the alleged Left, who believe themselves progressive, inclusive, and tolerant Zero Hedge picked up a story from San Francisco where denizens attend community meetings protesting arrivistes.

From the original article in the San Francisco Chronicle:
San Francisco is one of the most progressive cities in the nation, especially when it comes to national immigration. We believe so much in the natural right of people to join us here in America that we fought to keep our status as sanctuary city even in the face of being federally defunded for it. We pride ourselves on our rejection of plans to tighten immigration controls and deport undocumented immigrants. Yet take that same conversation to the local level and all bets are off. City meetings have become heated, divisive and prone to rhetoric where we openly discuss exactly which kinds of people we want to keep out of our city. 
This is an ethically incoherent position. If we in San Francisco so strongly believe that national immigration is a human right, then it seems strange to block migration into our own neighborhoods.
Goes on the cite plans for a development in Calle 24, where current residents claim it will bring tech workers into the Latino Cultural District. Tech workers? Is that code for undesirables?

Another community hearing, in Forest Hill, opposed an affordable housing project for seniors and former homeless.
They're afraid it would be bring mentally unstable or drug addicted people into the neighborhood.

Back to the SF Chronicle:
In both cases, residents took it as a given that they were within their rights to control who lived in their neighborhoods.
That sounds an awful lot like Brexiteers and Trump voters.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Say, hypothetically, a bankruptcy happens

Tuesday, December 6 2016 Reuters reported on Chicago Public School's (CPS) imminent bond issue. 

Strongly suspect reporter Karen Pierog and editor Matthew Lewis were not able to keep a straight face.
The prospectus includes legal opinions on a "hypothetical bankruptcy" by CPS that conclude payments on the new bonds would not be automatically stopped by a federal bankruptcy court and that bondholders would retain a lien on the tax revenue.
CPS would like to issue a $500mn bond secured solely by a capital improvement property tax - and not by the district's general obligation (GO) pledge.

That's what they would like to do.
And they'll probably do it - and rated junk by S&P, Moody's, and Fitch.

The general obligation pledge covers $6.8 billion of existing bonds.

Separately, CPS is having a cow over Governor Rauner vetoing a bill to give CPS a one-time $215 million state payment to help cover pension costs.

1. $215 million is nothing compared to the gaping maw of CPS's pension needs.
2. The pensioners and current employees are the ones to cover the plan's costs, not taxpayers.
3. When my lease is up October 2017 I am getting the hell out of Chicago and Cook County. I wish I could leave Illinois but the commutes from Wisconsin or Indiana don't work out.