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Tuesday, March 11, 2008


the eliot spitzer rally

when this story broke yesterday, i reflexively checked the screen for a rally. spitzer is, like virtually all politicians, heavily damaged goods in the psychology department -- only more so -- and is easily one of the most hated men on wall street. reports of trading floors breaking into spontaneous laughter as the first headlines crossed bloomberg are not to be discounted.

in combination with a deeply oversold condition at what looks like a good test of the january lows and some propitious help from the fed, the market is rocketing higher this afternoon in a positive trend day that will approach the 90% upside day that many are looking for to mark the start of a tradeable rally. if the relief can break what has seemed an endless spell of dire pessimism, it'll be the best $4300 the government has spent since the credit crunch started.

UPDATE: my read of the s&p was that this was in fact a 90% upside day -- the first since november 23 and 28.

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What's up, gm?

I had to comment on the Eliot Spitzer thread. I don't understand the whole thing. The guy paid a prostitute with his own money (right?) and is forced to resign? Who cares what the man does with his own money on his own time? Are we ever, as a society, going to stop caring about the little shit like this?

As you know, I'm a conservative, but this angers me. I understand prostitution is illegal (it shouldn't be), but why do we care who these people sleep with?

I'll never understand it.

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hey maddog -- good to hear from you!

i'd suggest that, for ordinary people, there's only the moral question -- but for the governor or even the attorney general of new york, there's something more pragmatic.

prostitution in nyc (and chicago, for that matter) is largely run by the mob, particularly at the $5500/hr level. this means that the mob had very compromising information about spitzer that could easily be used as blackmail to keep the government of new york from prosecuting certain organized crime elements (or, conversely, targeting other rival elements). maybe where construction contracts were awarded was affected? maybe a lot of things -- it implies a subtext of cooperation between spitzer and the mob.

wherever you come down on the moral question, one cannot have truly effective law enforcement from an attorney general who is being or can be easily blackmailed by organized crime, much less a governor. for that reason, his career should be over.

more than that, even -- spitzer was obviously drunk with power to do something so stupid. here is a man who knows exactly how police nail mobsters, but using a cellphone to arrange hookers? using wire transfers to pay for hookers? someone who does something so transparent is 1) blind with hubris, and/or 2) unconsciously asking to be destroyed. this indicates psychological damage that renders spitzer unfit for powerful office, imo.

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I agree with your last paragraph there entirely. I didn't realize the organized crime implications and that certainly changes my opinion. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the news, but I heard Eliot Spitzer paid prostitute and I'm like "who cares?" Obviously it's a bigger deal than I had thought, but I still can't stand how the news networks dwell on this day and night. Then again, they do this for everything so I shouldn't be shocked by that.

How's post 1060 life treating you? I'd been meaning to come over here and say Hi for awhile, but once you start putting things off it's easier to continue putting them off.

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really good, thanks -- lots going on with another baby on the way. good fun. you too, i hope?

on the media thing, the blame for the noxiousness lies with "us", i think. the media is there because people spectate, and the more sensational the more spectators seem to show up. i've come to see media in our demotic age (particularly including blogs) more as a reflection of society than a standalone entity or even a leader of opinion (though it certainly is part of a feedback loop of mass opinion).

blaming "them" for obsessing about spitzer or britney spears or whatever is kind of like blaming moviemakers for strong content -- one has to look at what is in demand, what is profitable. it might speak to the vulgarity of democratic societies, but there it is.

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Yeah, things are going well. We recently had our second child (a girl, which absolutely shocked me given my family's history). It's somewhat surprising the difference between one child and two.

I agree that we're to blame for what the media (and television and movies of course) show to a large extent, but I really wish they'd stop dumbing it down. I used to really enjoy the 24-hour news channels, but I can't stand them anymore. I'll occasionally have them on and just listen if something interesting comes up, but it's just the same stuff over and over and most of it is just worthless it seems.

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yeah, i gave up on tv news (excepting lehrer and frontline) some years ago. shouting alternated with snark while reaching no informative content.

can i ask -- how will the cubs do this year? i haven't been watching at all since even before 1060w hit the grave.

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It's hard to know how the Cubs are going to do, gm. You know that. I've taken a look at all the projections, projected standings, done a bit of work on my own, etc., and I feel confident in saying this is a team that could win 89-92 games. "Could" being the key word in that sentence.

There are some question marks so a wider range is perhaps needed, say 84-92 (even 93) wins. I think to be under 84 a serious injury would have to affect the Cubs and while it may be good to plan on one, I just don't think you know where it's going to happen, when it's going to happen, and how it will affect the team so I tend to ignore such things at this point because all teams are in that boat.

I really wish I had more of a feel for this team. I think this is probably the worst "feel" I've had for a Cubs team in a long time. I think it's one of those teams that if a few things break the Cubs way they could be a really good team. At the same time, if those things break the other way they're just going to be average, which is still probably good enough in the NL Central (sadly).

As long as Lou and Hendry don't fuck up the roster too much, it's the Cubs division to win in my opinion. Whether they do that is an entirely different story.

If the Cubs do end up getting Roberts, which I think is inevitable, this will be the best we've seen the Cubs at getting on base in quite some time and that will be refreshing. Even right now, without Roberts, most of the team projections have the Cubs finishing with the 2nd or 3rd best OBP in the NL and that includes a ridiculous 550 or so plate appearances from Ryan Theriot.

2 years ago I wouldn't have thought it possible to sit here today and say that the Cubs are maybe one move (after a Roberts trade) away from being one of the better teams in baseball, but I think they are close. Can Hendry make the Roberts deal (and another one around the deadline) happen? If he can do both (say adding Roberts and a healthy AJ Burnett) they're a really good team.

Right now? The best in the NL Central and a Roberts trade I think will eventually push DeRosa to shortstop and make it an overall 3-4 win addition and that puts some separation between the Cubs and Brewers.

You know what team I'm worried about most? The Reds. I actually think they'll finish in 2nd place because even Dusty will eventually see how damn good Jay Bruce is and give him the everyday job.

I wish I had more for you, but it's a hard team to figure out for some reason. Maybe I just haven't tried hard enough. I don't have the time to look into that much anymore, but I hope to get a better grasp before the season starts.

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