Archive for David Evans

Let Citi Regroup, Chapter 7

By David Evans

The fourth week of November 2008 found numbers worthy of consideration for the first time. Some were from the bureau of great big numbers, a division of Bernanke, Paulson and Geithner (D-WS). Others were honest numbers like 175 and 173, the tally of house seats and electoral votes. Still others were slow deciders, MN and GA, one blue and one blue.

Three seems a good number, blue states among the eleven that once broke away. Reconstruction may be viewed as three-elevenths complete. Some wanted it to take a little longer. Of the twenty-two deliberators from the rebel band, new blues are VA and NC. Equally valid, civil rights is now given fair odds of three in eleven, given six blues and sixteen on the emergency brake on freedom’s ride in the New Old South.

Jim Martin will be good for Georgia. He doesn’t have a mouthful of peach pits and grits. He doesn’t smear his opponents. He is reasonable on guns and gays and he will not be morphed into a fear-laden caricature.

Aficionados know it isn’t Dixieland without swing and without horns. The first Tuesday of December will include trumpets and bones, but no sax. Max Cleland will play a little fife and drum solo though.

Bluegrass classics will be whistled during whittlin’ in South Georgia. The locals have a few favorites. Here’s one from 2000, sung to the Beverly Hillbillies theme:

Come and listen to my story ’bout a man named Jeb

A rich connected Yankee who’s here posin’ as a Reb

He’s tryin’ to win a big state for a brother name of George

Who ain’t exactly like the one who fought at Valley Forge

Big Oil that is, Not Bold, Harlow T

(c) 1999 Blaise Pascal Publishing

Sixty is now a passing grade. It would be useful for the blues to pass something very soon. Recall 1992 and 1994 when majorities chose fiscal conservatism and brought the trogs to power. People need help now. Let Citi hawk its financial recklessness on international credit markets. It is certain to get some offers.

Speaking of ’92, ’94, James Carville is ever ready with the telling quip. He says election time is time to stab your enemies and transition time is time to stab your friends. As President Clinton’s administration is examined, a point of much interest will be assigning responsibility for the inexplicable choice in summer ’92 to silence dissenting voices at the convention. If this did not play directly into the midterm election debacle, the alternative explanation for it will most likely lack parsimoniousness as well as explanatory power. It’s hard not to like the cueball though. The cajun corporal boils it down to basics, just crawfish and McIlhenny pepper sauce.

The Chattahoochee River runners will choose the wettest candidate next week, strumming a Martin without reed instruments, but with accompanying dramatic wood flute. Grant us deliverance. The civilized people should back the oddsmaker’s favorite because they know Jim Martin listens. They also know his opponent. Columbus had a big party for the bourgeois, with attendees from all over the western hemisphere. Athens will show itself to be the model of self-government, not bad for a college town in a formerly red state.

Atlanta has some suburbs and some suburban voters. The soccer moms and the hockey moms are also NASCAR moms and gun show moms. They are also college moms and mortgage moms and grocery moms and cookie jar moms. They will vote for the change that brings them relief for the holidays. They are tired of being overstressed moms. They don’t mind being working moms. They do wonder why work doesn’t pay according to merit. Seniority is a fine concept unless all the most senior are good ole boys.

Perhaps proportional work for proportional pay will become the norm in right to work (an ancient misleading indicator) states. Check your cards. Talk to your steward. Have courage and confidence that change is not only possible, it is inevitable, mothers of the South.

SPEAKING OF MOTHERS

Mesilla Valley Native Jimmy Carl Black will be remembered in an LA tribute on December seventh. He was a versatile singer, musician and band leader for decades after a brush with fame as the drummer for the Mothers of Invention in the 1960s. Jimmy played the Bulldogg in El Paso throughout 1975 as “Sonny and the Mesilla Valley Lo- Boys” and performed frequently in Mesilla and Las Cruces venues. Later, Austin knew his band as Mannish Boys. He passed away in Siegsdorf, Bavaria on November first. Sons Darrell and Geronimo Black will play the musical tribute on the first Sunday in December. Info at jimmycarlblack.com or music trade publications or geronimoblack.com or from Candy Zappa. .

IN THESE TIMES

This space has several times carried an objection to commonly used language in financial reporting. The writers and editors of the NY Times are belligerent (bordering on criminal negligence) in repeatedly misleading their readers and misinforming, by innuendo, their real constituency.

In a Saturday Nov 22 story about Citigroup, the grayling has offended us with a mischaracterization worthy of an official state organ. “Mr. Rubin helped loosen Depression-era banking regulations,” goes the anodyne rehash. Mr. Rubin helped repeal Glass-Steagall, the New Deal regulatory remedy for the excesses directly caused by overlapping accounting inexactitudes during the roaring twenties’ crash. His buddy Sandy Weill thought this would be okay. It was not.

When people learned U.S. History, they understood bankers, brokers and insurers wear different hats. They do not swap. Bad things result when this rule is indifferently enforced. For sixty-five years, Glass-Steagall worked. It will work for one hundred sixty-five more. Bob Rubin (D-WS) has some ‘splainin to do.

Now he is in position to do so. He need only speak fully about his tenure at Treasury and his relationship with Travelers/Citigroup. Gramm Leach Bliley Rubin is not yet repealed. Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Frank should not need a gold-embossed prod. Voters spoke. Do your duty. Do not delay. Let those who profitted from the regulatory unevenness do the bailing. The rest of the people are a little tired of the bait and switch.

DSCC

The blue deliberators have chosen Bob Menendez for campaign committee duty. How nice to have someone close to Wall Street for a change, unlike Bob Torricelli or the last one.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

The privateers who took a boat of oil last week have caused a philosophical dilemma. Are they criminals or are they terrorists? Maritime insurers want to know. They also want to know if Somalis waging jihad against infidels should have their actions characterized as piratical, or could such a bold stroke be called an act of God? Only maritime insurers are interested.

PARDON ME

Can a presidential pardon be challenged? Can it be appealed? Could the people have tried Richard Nixon or Mark Rich or Scooter Libby? Maybe RICO statutes did not apply to Nixon. Happy Thanksgiving. Eat sensibly, enjoy family and friends, take a quiet moment for a genuine thanks. Despite the turbulence, we really do have a lot to be thankful for. We survived eight of the worst years… well, let’s discuss that later.

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