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.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

I'm rubber and you're black

In the 3rd Presidential Debate Donald Trump refused to say he'd accept the election results, if he felt the results were rigged.

Hillary Clinton blasted that as "horrifying." From the LA Times, October 19 2016:
“That’s horrifying,” Mrs. Clinton replied. “Let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating — he is talking down our democracy. And I am appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that position.”

Above: Joe Scarborough on MSNBC reacts to the Jill Stein-fronted recounts in states that went to Trump, on behalf of Clinton.

Snapshot from Jill Stein's #RECOUNT2016 website:

Interesting how the goal keeps getting hiked upwards. The original goal was $2.5mn. noticed that early on, writing on November 25 2016:
"you may want to read the fine print on her website. So far, she has raised $4.8 million, but take a look at this little clause at the end of the donation form:
We cannot guarantee a recount will happen in any of these states we are targeting. We can only pledge we will demand recounts in those states.
If we raise more than what's needed, the surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.
And interestingly, as more donations started pouring in over the holiday, Stein has moved her total fundraising goal to $7 million."
Also interesting - why isn't Stein targeting states that Clinton won?