Sunday, November 18, 2007

Business As Usual

Well. For starters, let me say I was disappointed in the quality of the football games I watched yesterday. The usual suspects demolished their (unranked) opponents but there was yet another upset no one in their right mind would have predicted…OU lost to Texas Tech. Dang. I would have liked to have seen that, schadenfreude being what it is. And the fact I hold OU in the same sort of contempt as I do Miami and Florida State. I had (unrealistic) hopes that Michigan would manage to upset Ohio State…what with the power of the rivalry, the fact that Michigan had several graduating seniors who have never beaten OSU, the game being played in A2, and all that… but it was not to be. Michigan just isn’t that good this year, and OSU is. And I didn’t bother watching ND. Two 1-9 teams going at it? Spare me.

The BCS rankings will be… cue up Arte Johnson… “vedddy in-TER-est-eeng!” when they come out today. No change in the Number One spot, and Kansas should be Number Two (if not Number One, when you get right down to it)…but the rest of the field? Anybody’s guess.

"First, we kill all the lawyers!" Or so said “Dick the Butcher,” in Shakespeare’s play Henry VI. Good ideas tend to be timeless, and here’s proof in the form of George Will’s syndicated column today. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON -- John Edwards launched his slight public career -- one Senate term, two presidential candidacies -- with the money and reputation he made as a trial lawyer. Today he is the candidate of a small fraction of the electorate but a sizable portion of America's trial lawyers. Edwards says Washington is "corrupt." Well.

Within Edwards' lucrative trial bar constituency, there has been a flurry of criminal indictments. Their target has been what Fortune magazine calls the law firm of Hubris Hypocrisy and Greed. (See Peter Elkind's jaw-dropping report in the issue of Nov. 13, 2006.) The real name of the nation's foremost securities class-action firm is Milberg Weiss.

It has been indicted as a "racketeering enterprise" that obstructed justice and committed perjury, bribery and fraud while collecting about $250 million in fees from about 250 cases using paid plaintiffs, which is illegal. Several of the firm's members, past and present, also have been indicted.

Since 1965, the firm has won, often by tactics indistinguishable from extortion, $45 billion from corporations -- more than $1 billion a year for plaintiffs claiming to have been cheated as investors.

This is the first I’ve heard of this indictment, but it could well and truly explain why I’ve stopped receiving (for the most part) notifications of class-action suits…which used to number at least one per week a year or so ago and of which I am automatically a member of the class, solely by virtue of the fact I happen to have purchased stock in XYZ corporation at some point in the past. That “automatic” inclusion means I must mail an “opt-out” notification to the bloodsuckers bringing the suit. Which, in turn, pisses me off. What gives a bunch of ambulance-chasers the right to include me in their frickin’ suit… without my express permission… to begin with?

I have no problem with people trying to get a portion of their money back in egregious cases of fraud, like the Enron or WorldCom scandals. But most of the notices of class-action suits I’ve received over the past three or four years have been for the corporate “crime” of allowing the stock the stock price to fall. Imagine that! Stocks going down, instead of up? Let’s SUE! And the sad part is the only people that make money off these frivolous suits are the trial lawyers. The corporations lose, the stock holders lose (because the payouts, when and if they come are usually small*), everyone loses…except the lawyers. Which is what Mr. Will is on about. His column is less about Edwards and more about the sleazy members of Edwards’ profession. As Mom said, “you’re known by the company you keep.”

And as I said: good ideas are timeless.

* From an old NYT article on the subject:

Sometimes there is little worth claiming. In a 1996 memo for the Manhattan Institute, a research organization in New York, Lawrence W. Schonbrun, a securities lawyer, described a settlement check written to one class member for 14 cents, complete with four pages of instructions on how to report the payment to the Internal Revenue Service. Although cash claims worth less than $5 are often not paid, some settlements offer other compensation of dubious value: discount coupons for goods or services from the very company whose products or services prompted the lawsuits.

And Hey! Speaking of Silky Pony…this just in!

Just one bad idea after another, eh? “Bad Corporations! BAD!”

Dang. I’m glad he’s got the proverbial snowball’s chance of getting the Democrat nomination. OTOH, I’m thinking he’d be pretty easy to beat… Serious mixed emotions. (h/t: Townhall.com)

In the “Preaching to the Choir” department…there’s this article (“Robert Spencer: War on Terror or War on Jihad? Defining the Problem”) by Pam Meister, writing at Family Security Matters. Excerpt:

If fundamental changes are not made in Europe soon, we will see Muslims in the majority in Europe by the end of the 21st Century, and European culture replaced by Islamic culture. Spencer warned: “We’re going to see the destruction of all these things we take for granted.” And Spencer claimed it is not only our presidential candidates who seem to flounder when it comes to worldwide Jihad. He said no one in Washington D.C. – including President Bush – has made the connection between the Islamification of Europe and what America faces. While we hamper ourselves with political correctness that forbids us from linking Islam with terrorism, the terrorists themselves are advertising their efforts as Islamic Jihad. Consider the names of the following terror groups:

· The International Islamic Front for the Jihad Against Jews (headed by Osama bin Laden)

· Laskar Jihad (in Indonesia)

· Egyptian Islamic Jihad

· Palestinian Islamic Jihad

They don’t have a problem calling themselves Jihadists – why should we? Spencer referred to a recent appearance by terrorism analyst Steven Emerson on Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” program, where liberal co-host Alan Colmes declared it wasn’t proper to “demonize” a religion by using terms such as Islamofascism or Islamic Jihad. When Emerson pointed out that “Islamic Jihad” is a term used by Islamist terrorists – in fact, as mentioned above, it is in the names of their organizations – Colmes replied that he didn’t have the right to use the term “because it’s their religion, not yours, and you’re trying to define their religion your way.”

If we aren’t allowed to use the same terms used by the groups themselves, we’ve painted ourselves into a very tight corner.

The problem is the choir is pretty small, given the examples cited in the article, and includes none of the current Democrat presidential candidates and only two candidates in the Republican field. And, unfortunately, Mr. Spencer concludes that situation is unlikely to change.

Today’s Pic: My view of the world this past Friday…which goes a long way towards explaining the sour mood I was in that day. Can you spell B-L-E-A-K? And although I was standing outside when I snapped this pic, the view is precisely what I see out my window as I sit at my desk. And, with the exception of the odd dusting of snow we get here on the High Plains of New Mexico, the view will be unchanging over the course of the next four months, or so. Well, there’s one other possible exception…but let’s not go there, mmm-kay? Coz I’m just not ready for that. Now, or ever.

9 comments:

  1. The Breck Girl(Edwards) is a empty suit...and his wife(who gets a pass due to her cancer) is even worse. As much as I despise the Clinton's, don't believe a word Osama Obama says, and have not figured out what the Hell the RINOs are trying to say.....Edwards and his former running mate Hot Air Al, are the two biggest turds on my shit list.

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  2. Emerson, a Jew who gets it
    A perspective of a moderate Muslim

    At the risk of sounding anti-Semitic, I want to say this: either American Jews are completely clueless about the internal struggle inside Islam or they are so cowardly, that they are even afraid to voice their opinion. Or maybe it's a combination of both.

    Every time there is a development that involves radical Islam, be it a Mayor of New York attending an Islamist parade, DOJ's officials attending an Islamist conference, or a protester being sued for having the balls to expose an Islamist-sponsored event at an amusement park, the American Jewish community is as quiet as a church mouse. It's like it is not even there.

    The effect of this silence is devastating. Not for the Jewish community, not yet. That time is still to come. The silence affects the American Muslim community. Every time moderate Muslims are ignored and Islamists are legitimized (by either direct support from government representatives or silent support of the ADL), radicals gain ground. In the current PC climate, moderate Muslims have pretty much no choice but to keep their mouths shut.

    Luckily for us, not everyone in the Jewish community is like that. There are some Jews that are speaking out. One of them is Steven Emerson, who has been warning the West about the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism since before PanAm 103. Most of his current work is focused on exposing the radicals masquerading as the moderates – those radicals who are embraced by the DOJ and the Pentagon, by the mayor of New York Bloomberg (Rudy would never get into bed with terrorist supporters) and the Treasury Department, by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, by the Congress and the White House.

    There is a war of ideas within Islam, and moderate Muslims are losing. Most of Muslim clergy and Muslim establishment are paid for by the Wahhabis. Moderate Muslims are being run out of Mosques and community centers, and in many cases are physically threatened. Moderate Muslims have no place in the media or public debate, because the place reserved for Muslims is filled by Islamic radicals, who attempt to make criticizing anything Islamic a taboo. According to the Islamists, a Muslim can do no wrong.
    1. When a non-Muslim criticizes Islam or Muslims, he/she is an Islamophobe.
    2. When a Muslim criticizes Islam or Muslim, he/she is not a real Muslim, therefore see #1.

    This is a tactic used by "moderate" Muslims, the darlings of the government and the media. But how can you call someone who praises bin Laden, or has ties to Hamas, or calls for the elimination of Israel, or wants to replace the Constitution with the Koran a moderate? They are anything but moderates, however nobody except for a few people like Steven Emerson seems to notice that. But even when the Emersons of America appeal to the public, they are often being dismissed as alarmists and racists. Well, they are anything, but. You don't have to be a clairvoyant to predict the future when it comes to expansion of radical Islam and extinction of moderate Muslims. All you need to do is get your heads out of the sand.

    Why our government is so forgiving and forgetful when it comes to individuals or organizations with known terrorist ties and anti-American views is beyond me. Why the Jewish leaders are so timid when it comes to the subject of radical Islam is incomprehensible.

    I thank God every day for people like Steven Emerson, because they are the last glimmer of hope for moderate Muslims.

    K.M.

    Original post

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  3. regarding the Breck Girl (and Algore, etc): it amazes me how far from reality those people are. Really.

    I can relate to the bleak outlook. Even though I have a nice view of nature, with the mesa (small as it is) in the distance and all, I do miss the green and warmth of the other seasons. OTOH, now that everything is dead, I can get control over the place that I never got a chance to mow and as a result I have 8 foot tall weeds.

    Think I could make a killing selling Southwestern Christmas trees (hehehe, tumbleweeds with lights)?

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  4. Jenny said: Think I could make a killing selling Southwestern Christmas trees (hehehe, tumbleweeds with lights)?

    Probably! Speaking of tumbleweeds...I thought we'd have a bumper crop this year given all the rain we had this past spring. But... not so much.

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  5. Actually, kind of smelled the TT upset from a mile away. OU's pass defense has been suspect this year. Matched against one of the more prolific pass offenses this year and losing their starting QB in the 1st qtr...at least they made it a close(r) game by the end. Given the topsy-turvey way the Big 12 championship game has gone in years past, look for OU to upset KU, dork over the BCS standings - again, and give OSU an unwarranted open door to the national title game since that sorry excuse for a conference refuses to hold a championship game... ;)

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  6. SJS sez: ...losing their starting QB in the 1st qtr...

    That's where I think it fell all apart, based upon what I read. As I said, I wish I could have seen it.

    And you're right about the Big Ten and conference title games, in general. Which is why I've kinda-sorta become a convert to SEC football. The Big Ten used to be "it," for me. My allegiance is fading rapidly.

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  7. That pic reminds me of this Joni Mitchell lyric (from an album I recall you not liking much when it was released, Buck, and that I promised you a copy of some time ago ...):

    "I'm Don Juan's reckless daughter
    I came out two days on your tail
    Those two bald-headed days in November
    Before the first snowflakes sail"

    (http://jonimitchell.com/musician/song.cfm?id=DonJuansRecklessDaughter)

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  8. Lori sez: Those two bald-headed days in November
    Before the first snowflakes sail"


    Guess what's in the Turkey Day forecast... :-)

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  9. The Tech-OU game was great. Go Tech!

    Reading MAS comment was interesting along with your Spencer exerpt. The whole PC crowd is very disturbing, but as you (or Mr. Spencer said I don't see things changing any time soon.

    Your picture is not so bleak - just a new season. Have a great Thanksgiving.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask.