The Weekly Tendown February 6 --12 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dear Internet:

Sometimes the news confuses me.  Near as I can figure, this week the people of Egypt, led by the Muslim Brotherhood and Utah Jazz All-Star point guard Deron Williams drove Hosni Mubarak out of power.

Hopefully President Tyrone Corbin can help facilitate peace in the Northwest Division.  Egypt's relationship with neighbor Oklahoma City has been tenuous since the Six Days War.

Here's Tendown 64.

1. Would You Like to Make Some Money?

So, I lost against the spread picking the Super Bowl last week.  This does not bother me, as I did not invest, rooting, in fact, for the Packers.

Five years ago, however, Seattle was getting points against the Steelers, and it could have been that I felt fairly confident in that investment, given my view that they were the stronger team.

As you know, that game was fixed.

I then made a mistake.  Commitment bias is this - the tendency to throw good money after bad; so, let's say you're dating someone who you should really not be with anymore, but you say "if I leave him now, it's like I've wasted the past X years of my life.  I have to keep going."

It's what causes the Niners to cut the clearly superior Shaun Hill and keep playing Alex Smith.  If we cut him now - it's like we wasted the top overall pick."

It's important, in business, in sports, in life, in gambling to recognize the value of sunk costs.  It's what keeps a loss from bankrupting you.

So, SB 40 went the wrong way, and understanding the human tendency to chase bad money, I decided to make it all back with a Grammy investment.

Don't do that.  It's error.

I've forgotten who was favored to win both Album and Song of the Year five years ago (guessing - it was Kanye) but it wasn't U2.

Here's why that matters - investing in awards shows is not a good proposition; either there's a solid favorite (Eminem for Best Album this year) meaning there's just no play given how bad are the odds, or it's a coin flip, and that's never something you should play (unless it's the Super Bowl and you play tails).

But sometimes, analysis of past votes (and that's how you play; it's not a qualitative "here's who's best" judgment, the way you play is "who is in the position of previous winners") leads to the view that the most likely winner is mistakenly a pretty good underdog according to the sportsbooks.

And 5 years ago - I thought U2 was going to win, but they weren't favored, and having just taken a bath in a clearly fixed Super Bowl, I went in heavy.

This is a mistake.

Except that time it worked out and I cleaned up.

Leading us to tonight.

Let me direct you to Lady Antebellum this evening.  Plus another 10 picks tonight.  They are dogs for both song/record and I don't believe that's the most likely result tonight.  The metric for this isn't as strong as for sports - but it's not a shot in the dark either.  If, for whatever reason, you decided to invest tonight, think Lady Antebellum for Song and Record.  I did give you Boardwalk Empire/Steve Buscemi a month ago.

(edit - You're welcome.)

Album - Eminem
Best New Artist - Justin Bieber
Song - Need You Now (Cee Lo is favored, so there's an opportunity here)
Record - Need You Now (Eminem/Rihanna is favored, and Lady Antebellum is also behind Jay Z/Alicia Keys so there's an opportunity here.)
Short Form Video - Bad Romance
Male Country Vocal - Keith Urban
Female Country Vocal - Miranda Lambert
Alternative Album - Arcade Fire
Urban Alternative - Cee Lo Green
Male R&B Vocal - Usher
Pop Vocal Album - Gaga
Female Pop Vocal - Gaga
Rap Solo - Eminem

We'll see how it goes.

2. Jefferson Davis = Adlai Stevenson

If Tendown has any value, I know I have readers who otherwise would be unaware of the lengths that the right wing goes to fabricate American history.  Previously, we've seen Limbaugh and right wing congressmen discuss how it was the Republicans who were the true civil rights crusaders.  And presumably, someone who doesn't know what happened to all those southern Democrats who opposed Brown or CRA '64 (spoiler alert - they became Republicans) might get tricked.

To that end - here's Ann Coulter from CPAC this week. saying that liberals fought to keep slavery during the Civil War.

And this week, here's Michele Bachmann saying that other than Native Americans, all Americans have the same story of coming to the US by choice for a better life.  An omission?  Nah - two weeks ago she said this:

"How unique in all of the world, that one nation that was the resting point from people groups all across the world," she said. "It didn't matter the color of their skin, it didn't matter their language, it didn't matter their economic status."

"Once you got here, we were all the same. Isn't that remarkable?" 

It is remarkable.  Which explains why the National Review, the longtime right wing journal of record, wrote this in 1957.

The central question that emerges--and it is not a parliamentary question or a question that is answered by merely consulting a catalog of the rights of American citizens, born Equal--is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes--the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the median cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists. The question, as far as the White community is concerned, is whether the claims of civilization supersede those of universal suffrage. The British believe they do, and acted accordingly, in Kenya, where the choice was dramatically one between civilization and barbarism, and elsewhere; the South, where the conflict is by no means dramatic, as in Kenya, nevertheless perceives important qualitative differences between its culture and the Negroes', and intends to assert its own.

Note - that Kenya discussion is at the heart of today's right wing theory of Obama's hatred of the United States - he has an anti-colonial reservoir of resentment toward England for its treatment of Kenya that has manifested in his desire to destroy the United States.

No, seriously.  Here's Dinesh D'Souza in a piece that has been supported by Newt, Palin, and Simple Jack:

Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father's dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost.

In a right wing history class, the earth is 6,000 years old; the founding fathers created the United States as a Christian nation as they were ending slavery.  The Progressive Era was a totalitarian power grab by the federal government; the progressive income tax, the minimum wage, and minimum health and safety standards were part of an inexorable slide to socialism, that - when coupled with the failure of the New Deal under perhaps our worst President ever, FDR, created a United States which was only saved by the coming of Ronald Reagan, whose tax cutting both decreased the deficit and created jobs, policies that if we would just return to could unleash to power of small business and return America to its late 19th century glory.  Social Security is a failed ponzi scheme.  Unemployment benefits create hobos.  Iraq has been a successful war.  Biblical law should replace the criminal justice system.   Liberals and Muslims are part of a worldwide conspiracy to impose Sharia law/gay marriage on the United States.  Your guns and Bible are in jeopardy of being taken away.  The only guardians of the liberties enshrined in the Constitution are on the right wing.  

And I don't even go after the low hanging fruit.  Read about Bryan Fischer sometime and consider why it is mainstream Republicans can go on his radio show without being required to repudiate his constant vicious bigotry.  I talk about the big guys, elected officials, the big corporately supported heavy right wing hitters.  Take a step down and you get all manner of right wing madness that just goes undiscussed by mainstream media until you look up and Rand Paul, who believes the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is unconstitutional and that businesses should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of race if they choose to becomes elected to the US Senate.

Can you be elected in South Africa in 2011 if you say "now, personally, I didn't like apartheid, but I'm not sure we should have stopped it."

Because in the US - those guys are sitting at the head of the table.

3. And While We're At It
Here's what really happened in the 1980s.

4. Meanwhile, at the home front.

I live in south Florida.  Here was our week.

The new right wing governor wants to cut corporate taxes by 700 billion.  How to pay for it?  Take 4 billion out of Medicaid.

The proposed budget is here.

In his first budget proposal, Gov. Rick Scott wants to slash more than $4.6 billion from the state's current spending of $70.5 billion by cutting services to the developmentally disabled, whacking per-pupil spending and doing away with nearly 8,700 state worker jobs while giving businesses a $1.4 billion tax break.
Scott, who rolled out his $65.9 billion spending plan at a tea party event in rural Central Florida, called his austere proposal a gimmick-free approach to governing.

"There's no sweeteners for special interests or special people or special companies," Scott told reporters in the Capitol on Monday after first releasing details to tea party supporters in Eustis.
But Scott's budget plan would lower the corporate income tax from 5.5 percent to 3 percent, a $1.4 billion savings for big businesses in the state. And his proposal includes $800 million in economic development money that he alone could dole out to businesses coming to or expanding in Florida.

And for those who are unemployed - good news - Florida businesses may soon contribute less money to the unemployment insurance fund. Here's the chairman of the Florida House panel which passed those recommendations this week:

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