March 18, 2008
Bear Stearns By the Numbers
E J Dionne's fatuous analysis of Bear Stearns led me to take a look at their stock chart. Bear Stearns has 118.1M shares outstanding. A month ago they were valued at 80 dollars a share. Over the weekend the Fed forced a sale at 2 dollars a share to JP Morgan/Chase. That's a haircut of 97%. Essentially Bear Stearns stockholders are being told that their thrashing around bleeding cash is worth a "go away" payment of 3%. For E J Dionne, that's Wall Street turning into "a bunch of welfare clients".
The real story is that Bear Stearns executives do seem to have tried to mau mau the Fed but the Fed instead forced a sale whose terms are so harsh that Bear Stearns shareholders may not approve, a threat realistic enough that bondholders (who make out better in the Fed forced deal) seem to be buying up stock and bidding BSC's share price to 5 dollars Monday and almost 6 dollars Tuesday.
It's going to be an interesting episode in managed capitalism but educational only if you pay attention to the details, especially the numbers.
March 16, 2008
Half a vote? Why not 3/5ths?
After reading about the Democrat's delegate dilemma, this proposal by Senator Ben Nelson (D) seemed to strike almost the right chord:
But why 1/2 a vote? Why not give the Floridian's a little more, let's say 10% more. Giving them 3/5ths a vote would have the added benefit that the DNC could sell access to a unique pay-per-view event, the press conference where reporters ask Barack Obama whether he's ok with counting delegates on a 3/5ths basis. Proceeds could go to a worthwhile charity, say the United Negro College Fund? It would be a train wreck of epic proportions, one that any political junkie worth his salt couldn't look away from.
People are people and the Dems already count too many delegates as less worthy of full voting rights. Either you're in the club and have the vote or you're out. This fractional voting idea is nonsense and historically insensitive nonsense at that.
March 05, 2008
Democrat Delegate Math
RealClearPolitics provides the raw numbers on the delegates. After subtracting Florida and Michigan, there are 2642 Pledged Delegates in the pool. There are 795 Super Delegates as well for a total of 3437 seated delegates. You need 2025 to carry the nomination apparently (both RealClearPolitics and ABC News agree). This sets up a very strange situation where you need 58.9% of the seated delegates to get the nomination. At present time, with only 52 of Texas' 193 delegates assigned, there are only 752 delegates left to win and Obama has only 1280 Pledged delegates. If he gets all of them, he'll have 2032 delegates, 8 more than he needs to win the nomination. With Texas being called for Clinton, it's highly unlikely tonight that he'll get the nomination absent superdelegate votes and by morning it will be mathematically impossible as there will be only 611 Pledged Delegates left and Obama's not going to have 1414 Pledged Delegates come morning. He only has 1280 right now.
Absent the DNC lowering the 2025 figure or seating Michigan/Florida which puts 366 mostly Clinton delegates on the convention floor, the Democrat Party presidential nomination will be decided by the Super Delegates. The political junkies wet dreams will come to life this summer. The smoke filled rooms are back.
March 04, 2008
Obama, Rezko, and Connecting the Dots
So now the press is asking "tough questions" about Sen. Obama's relationship with Antoin Rezko. Color me unimpressed over Obama's denials about doing Rezko favors. Rezko isn't an isolated player but rather part of a corrupt machine. "Public Official A", Rezko's major political patron, has now been officially revealed to be Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Smart corrupt officials don't always do simple cash for favor deals, not in a place like Chicago which is crawling with corruption, not if they want to go national and want to be able to pretend to be honest. Smart corrupt officials use middle men. What if Obama wasn't paying Rezko directly but rather paying Blagojevich to pay Rezko? Blagojevich gives Rezko contracts, Rezko raises money and does little favors for Obama like his house deal and Obama votes the way Blagojevich wants and provides other, so far undiscovered, help to Blagojevich and crew.
Or perhaps it's the other way around and Blagojevich is the initiator, offering Obama the services of his pet fixer in exchange for votes and help reeling in the Chicago based black power block.
Once you get past the need for things to be nice and neat and only involve two people, the Rezko situation gets much more serious because the money can flow in nonobvious ways that will take years to unravel, long after the american people will have voted for the next president.
What a fine mess this country is in when the Clinton in the race might be the more honest Democrat.
A product of BruceR and Jantar Mantar Communications, and affiliated contributors. Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's half-informed viewpoint on the world.