Thank you…

After what was a pretty horrible result on Tuesday in the Presidential election, it’s important to remember that not everything was bad news. Voters elected some new Democratic Senators in IL, ME, and NV. Nevada itself turned blue and the new Governor of North Carolina is likely going to be a Democrat. Here in Texas, Harris County joined Dallas and Travis Counties in the blue column and in the Presidential race, Trump bested Clinton by only 600k votes (in 2012, Obama lost Texas by 1.2mn).

In 2018, Texas can flip.

To everyone to who worked hard, from the campaign staff all the way to the volunteers who blockwalked and phone banked until they just couldn’t do it anymore, you have our thanks for all your hard work.

And to the candidates, those who won and who lost, you have our appreciation for putting yourself forward as a candidate for office. We are very proud of you all.

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Show your patriotism and support for our men and women in uniform with this craptastic cement sculpture for only $41 and change at Wal Mart in Lewisville.

Creepy Warriors


Posted in Calling Bullshit, Cultural Slumfest | Comments Off on JUST IN TIME FOR MEMORIAL DAY!!!

We Are Doomed!

Haven’t got out much lately, but I keep hearing that since Uber and Lyft have left, Austin has descended into a Dark Age where chaos and anarchy reign, and every day is a battle with death.
Emperor Adler and his minions on the High Court, who have become billionaires from the largess of the ominous taxi cartel, have imposed more draconian and dictatorial sanctions on the citizenry.
Meanwhile, the glorious libertarian Silicon Valley gods are bewildered and have gone into consultation with their spiritual guides and yoga instructors to understand why the peasants have rejected their manna and gift of a bright utopian wonderland. The spiritual residue of Ayn Rand is livid.
Y’all be careful out there.

Posted in Austin | 1 Comment

Flowers, Rainbows and Pretty Things…

In 2004 I could not have been more derisive toward the campaign of Rep. Kucinich who, while being a nice guy, wasn’t ever going to win and whose supporters were really annoying. I viewed the whole thing as a colossal waste of time and by the time of the convention in Houston would shake a little when anyone mentioned the Department of Peace in a serious tone.

This, increasingly, is how I’ve grown to feel about the Bernietastic campaign of Bernie Sanders. Bernie, while being a nice guy, isn’t as a Bernieriffic as everyone would like to believe. He is, in fact, pretty doctrinaire and simplistic which makes something like this really irritating.

First, I don’t accept the premise that Hillary is serving the moneyed elite or that her voters are stooges of the Corporate Power Structure of America, Inc. That ship sailed long ago and to accuse liberals of being in league with corporatists is the height of hilarity. Corproratists long ago picked their side and it’s the Republicans. We want the same things many Bernie supporters want… we happen to differ on how we go about doing it. That’s the nice way of saying that Bernie is peddling a fantasy way of making things happen that involves:

1) Him being elected President (unlikely against someone like Trump who is likely to peal off more than 20% of Democrats in an economy based campaign)
2) Him proposing legislation to a, at best, recalcitrant Republican Congress filled with people who liked to set kittens on fire just to hear the screams.
3) The passage of the aforementioned legislation through some, as yet, unknown mechanism that may or may not involve magic. Or a unicorn.

For example, Single payer is what we all want… Tax policy created the modern health insurance industry and it can certainly dismantle it. But there isn’t going to be just one grand conflict at which we settle the issue. It’s going to be a series of battles over years as we drag the country, kicking and screaming, to something better. And the country WILL resist… because Americans fundamentally don’t like change until all other options have been exhausted. For most Americans, we’re not there yet. Americans are not going to just wake up one day and say, in unison, BERNIE IS RIGHT.

Second, if he can’t weather the attacks of the so-called establishment liberals who are so mean (so, so, so very mean!), what the fuck is he going to do up against the Republicans? Clinton, if nothing else, will never let up on them because after 25 years of constant attacks she knows never to expect something good. She will never be fooled into thinking that they will work out a deal on level ground. She knows and is prepared for pushing things down their throats in ways Bernie simply can’t because he’s never really dealt with it at that level.

Finally, I’m not voting for Clinton based on the difficulty of making Bernie’s dreams reality, I don’t buy into Bernie’s dreams. Admittedly, a socialist utopia is better than no utopia at all. HOWEVER, I don’t think utopia is possible as long as there are people in it. More to the point, Bernie’s solutions which sound good to so many are childishly simple and easy to pull apart (he and O’Malley are in the same boat on that one with regard to financial services/bank reform… I mean, if you’re willing to accept criticism from a known corporatist like Paul Krugman). And that’s what makes this so irritating to me… his solutions seem so perfect because they’re generated in a vacuum free of reality, where anything is possible. It’s only when you break the seal that you realize the solution is nothing more than vapor.

Bernie has a one dimensional view of the world that’s akin to cops and robbers played by four year olds. He’s the liberal equivalent of Ayn Rand, wholly unwilling to ever concede that reality is different from his skewed perception. Like Rand, he’s created a political narrative where people are absolutely good and absolutely bad… it’s maddening not because he’s done it but because so many have fallen, completely, for it.

Posted in Democratic fun..., Texas | Comments Off on Flowers, Rainbows and Pretty Things…

401k, IRAs, and Bernie’s plan for a ‘financial transactions tax’

Dear Team Clinton… kudos on your attacks on Bernie’s health care plan. They’ve done so well that you’ve turned almost every single media outlet into a real font of actual journalism by forcing them to point out just how disingenuous your attacks are. Maybe if we’d had that kind of analysis from the media, W wouldn’t have been re-elected in 04, but I digress.

Rather than attacking something the Secretary, in principle, supports, why the hell don’t you attack him on his financial services tax? That will actually have an impact on the lives of every American who will find their retirement a little tighter. It also neatly points out that Bernie’s plan for a half percent tax will also raise less revenue than a tenth percent tax since the higher tax rate will remove liquidity from markets. It’s the same old bullshit that says a 90% tax rate will raise x dollars… it won’t because people will find a way NOT to pay it.

Part of President Clinton’s genius was in realizing that maximizing tax income was more important than the absolute rate. Secretary Clinton knows this all too well. So let her talk about that, since it’s a clear difference between the candidates… thoughtless idealism that fails to ever achieve the goal vs real world pragmatism and actual leadership that results in improving conditions.

I’m the type of Democrat who wants solutions, not ideological bullshit that’s never worked in the real world. It’s time to remind voters that pragmatism matters.

Posted in Democratic fun..., Stupid Democratic Tricks | Comments Off on 401k, IRAs, and Bernie’s plan for a ‘financial transactions tax’

WTF Hillz?

While Bernie vols in Texas are making hundreds of thousands of calls (and this is confirmed from multiple sources) to voters in Texas, Hillary vols are making calls… to Maine and Delaware.

I don’t know what kind of delegate math you’re fucking using, but this is a fuckup like accidentally blowing up the sun. The campaign is making the same mistakes that were made in 2008 and you have someone running the western states whose last job was, what, working for a FL state rep?

Seriously, someone needs to get their shit together on field or this primary is going to look even worse than 08.

Posted in Texas | Comments Off on WTF Hillz?

I give you The Dumbest Thing You’ll Read In January On Wages

Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, wrote what has to be one of the worst counterarguments to increasing the minimum wage in the history of ever. Honestly CKE’s board should be looking to fire him with cause for

A) Being stupid
B) Putting it in writing (in the WSJ no less)
C) For then going on TV to defend his sloppy work

Let’s start here…

Generally, highly compensated employees contribute more to a company’s success than minimum-wage employees, who are often less experienced and entry-level workers.

Well, I’ve met everyone from entry level employees to CEOs at a variety of companies. There’s only one CEO who’s ever impressed me as exceptional and the rest have been underwhelming on a personal and intellectual level. Lower compensated employees usually don’t have a say in things so they CAN’T, by management’s design, contribute. When employees ARE able to contribute, it’s usually very productive since they understand the day to day operation of the business far better than, honestly, the CEO. I’ve never met Andy, but I have a feeling any member of middle management (or a damn line cook at any given CKE location) could do his job better, so let’s replace him and then use his salary to bump up the minimum wage paid out by CKE.

Then there’s his math issue…

At $12 an hour, the employee would make $7,410 more a year resulting in a loss per employee of $1,110, eliminating the employee’s entire contribution to the company’s success. At $15 an hour, the employee would make $12,090 more a year, resulting in a loss per employee of $5,790.

Yes, because prices would remain static. And if you believe that, I have this AMAZING insurance product to sell you! Seriously, research has already been done and the price increase to cover $15/hour is a little under 5% or 25 CENTS on a $5 burger, because the labor component of the price of fast food is REALLY low. That research didn’t really look into the cost savings realized from lower turnover and the productivity increases when someone isn’t constantly under stress about how they’re going to pay bills. It also doesn’t look at the broader impact of having tens of millions of workers with higher incomes and a history of spending those incomes, in the economy.

Now, I knew about the Purdue study and I have no investments in businesses directly affected by minimum wage increases… the big question is how the hell old dumb as a box of hair Andy missed it given that IT’S ABOUT HIS DAMN BUSINESS. I don’t know, but if I was a fancy fast food CEO like Andy, I would have a Google search set up for everything related to my industry from commodity futures to restaurant design trends. But I’m probably smarter than Andy so we’ll cut him some slack on that.

Finally, let’s address poor dumb Andy’s comments about Wal Mart. Wal Mart’s problem begins with a management culture that actually devalues hard work and decision making in employees. Now, I know management has been crowing about how much they’ve done to increase wages, but what they’re NOT saying is that they’re doing it to compete FOR EMPLOYEES. Apparently, paying the minimum wage left them understaffed and shelves untended. It’s poor operation which has already caused the loss of the middle market consumer, who are predisposed to thinking their stores sucked and that their food is sourced from China and filled with exotic poison. Wal Mart’s problems are DECADES in the making and you would need wholesale change within the management to overcome that. I shop at Costco, Tom Thumb and occasionally Central Market. I don’t step foot in a Wal Mart because I think of everything in it as Poisoned in China.

Change the culture and you’ll see profits rise even with higher wages. Until then, I would avoid Wal Mart stock like it’s an infectious disease.

Speaking of changes in culture, I think maybe it’s time to do the same thing at CKE. I know I won’t be eating a Chili Cheese Six as long as Dipshit Andy Pozner is the CEO… he could be sourcing melamine tainted produce from Wal Mart for all I know!

Posted in Economy, People are Stupid, Texas | Comments Off on I give you The Dumbest Thing You’ll Read In January On Wages

What may be the best line I have ever written (to date)…

(Senator) Ted Cruz is smarmy, just like Dubya Bush, but without that ineffable ‘I want to have a beer with that fella’ quality. Cruz is actually most like Eddie Haskell and no one likes Eddie Haskell, except mothers who couldn’t get through lunch without a tab of mothers little helper. Eddie Haskell is the guy who ends up going to jail for selling used cars with turned odometers.

Posted in Stupid Republican Tricks | Comments Off on What may be the best line I have ever written (to date)…

Macro view on oil… it’s still the demand

Yardeni’s year end report on the oil macro picture is out, and on it’s face it should be encouraging for bulls short term. Long term, it’s clear that absent extraordinarily low prices, demand growth would have fallen in 2015. Producers have no pricing power and prices over $50/bbl would likely redepress demand.

OECD demand growth did go positive during the year, but only fractionally. Demand in the OECD was actually up, but marginally from 32.5 million bbl/day to 32.9 million bbl/day. This breaks the trend as German demand flattened out, UK, Italy and the US all rose while Japan continued it’s decline.

The big news was demand growth in China and India which both appear to be strong. However, it’s unclear how much of this demand is the result of economic activity and how of this is the result of expanding petroleum reserves in a time of low prices.

Expect a cap on pricing between 46 and 49. Anything over should be looked at as an opportunity to sell as I don’t see anything other than demand loss.

As for this piece from the WSJ, don’t waste your time… it’s full of shit like this:

Some money managers disagree. Bullish investors believe that non-OPEC supply could fall sharply in 2016, spurring a rebound in prices by year-end. Large producers faced pressure to cut spending even before oil prices plunged, and the pace of spending cuts accelerated in 2015. Producers delayed or canceled about 13 million barrels a day worth of oil output in the past five years, equal to about 14% of current global production, including 5 million barrels a day that would have been produced by 2020 deferred due to low prices, according to energy-focused investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.

“Demand is growing and supply is reducing,” said Tim Guinness, chief investment officer of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management Inc., which manages $300 million in energy-equity investments. Mr. Guinness said he expects to see Brent oil prices at $75 a barrel by the end of 2016. “The world was out of balance. It’s now coming back into balance.”

Yes, it’ll fall but not sharply… At 50, producers are mostly profitable and they can now drill a lot cheaper. There will be supply growth at $50 and demand will start to drop. $75 for Brent is laughable. The sweet spot is around 43-45 which is where I think oil will average out over 2015 absent Iran going to war with Saudi Arabia or Samsung announcing they have a really good supercapacitor that would be perfect for transportation.

Posted in Texas | Comments Off on Macro view on oil… it’s still the demand

Reality Check… Clinton V Sanders

Honestly, articles like this usually make me laugh…

In addition to the 14% of Democrats who won’t support Clinton, 27% would “support her with some reservations” and 11% would “only back her because she is the nominee.”

Based on the CBS News findings, around 52% of Democrats will either stay home or reluctantly drive to the polls. Not the recipe to beat a Republican, who if Clinton is the nominee, will have millions of new conservatives/independents doing everything possible in order to ensure Hillary Clinton doesn’t get elected.

Now, HA Goodman is a Clinton hating nut but this is just crap since his conclusion isn’t supported by the actual datan (Which is OLD AF anyway). 14% won’t show up for Clinton, the others will. That’s after months of a steady negative drumbeat led, ineffectually, by people like HA Goodman which has done nothing to pull Clinton’s numbers down or Sander’s numbers up. In fact, the only thing it’s done is harden a segment of of Bernie supporters into thinking Clinton would be WORSE than whichever racist, misogynist, dirtbag the Republicans nominate. That’s not foolish, it’s completely batshit crazy.

I know most of this will change… by June or early July, most of the ill feeling will be gone and people will wake up and realize there’s an election to win. Should not enough swing over, there’s still a win condition for Clinton… swing right and hippy punch. Independents and working class Republicans (which is, incidentally, what Trump is creating with his economic message and pulling them solidly out of their moralistic ideological slumber) LOVE hearing D’s assert independence from the liberals and the only ones who’ll not turn up to the polls are the ones already suffering from Clinton derangement syndrome.

That option isn’t open to Sanders.

So, go on and be a dick… don’t vote for Hillary if she’s the nominee. BE the petty little bitch we already knew you were. And we’ll win anyway.

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