Friday, June 5, 2020

Friday Night Links

  • Louisa had been overheard to begin a conversation with her brother one day, by saying 'Tom, I wonder' - upon which Mr. Gradgrind, who was the person overhearing, stepped forth into the light and said, 'Louisa, never wonder!' Herein lay the spring of the mechanical art and mystery of educating the reason without stooping to the cultivation of the sentiments and affections. Never wonder. By means of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, settle everything somehow, and never wonder. [Hard Times]
  • The Surgeon General of the United States was not Marvin Chirelstein's general. Marvin did not doubt the Surgeon General's warnings that smoking cigarettes was harmful to one's health; he just didn't care, and he refused to quit. Marvin enjoyed gambling, and this was no doubt the most important bet he ever won. [Columbia Law Review]
  • Imagine a thousand parallel universes beginning in 1920 where high school dropouts drill exploratory wells in Texas based on gut feelings. There would be oil billionaires in every one of the universes, but unless any of them had an intelligent mechanism for predicting the presence of oil, it would be a different group of billionaires in each universe. In other words, if success is based on luck, you can expect outcomes to quickly revert to the mean. And if the success was based on luck, you would also expect the oil fortunes to dissipate quickly in a flash of decadent spending and poor investment. Which is exactly what happened, with the exception of one family in the book. [CBS]
  • Law enforcement has had to focus on protecting large institutions such as the Federal Reserve and power plants, acknowledging that that emphasis has come at the expense of small businesses, many of them family- and minority-owned, that have gone up on flames or been gutted by looters. [Power Line]
  • But what exactly are you getting in return for your contributions to this system? The authorities clearly don't care about you. The police won't show up to save your life. Literally. During election years, sweaty politicians claim to be on your side. It's a lie. They're not. They'll waste your time with hollow posturing. They'll feed you pointless symbolic victories and expect you to celebrate, like you've actually won something. But when the mob comes, they're gone. You're on your own. [Tucker Carlson]
  • In response to the COVID–19 health crisis, California has now limited attendance at religious worship services to 25% of building capacity or 100 attendees, whichever is lower. The basic constitutional problem is that comparable secular businesses are not subject to a 25% occupancy cap, includ-ing factories, offices, supermarkets, restaurants, retail stores, pharmacies, shopping malls, pet grooming shops, bookstores, florists, hair salons, and cannabis dispensaries. [SCOTUS]
  • Riots then are best understood as a coordination problem. People must act together for the riot to proceed, and importantly, they must act at the same time. Corporations and military commands develop vast hierarchies to ensure that those in their employ work in concert. The rioter does not have this option available to him. Haddock and Poisby quote a passage from Thomas Schelling's Strategies of Conflict that explains why. Absent long-term leadership, the coordinating mechanism for the would-be rioters is almost always an incident. The incident itself can be almost anything, provided that all would-be rioters understand that what has just happened is in fact "an incident". Once a crowd has gathered in response to an incident, there are still two hurdles that would-be rioters must overcome to transform a mere crowd into a destructive mob. The first is that the crowd must have massed in sufficient concentration and speed at "one place [where] police cannot mass at a correspondingly rapid rate... [so that] that offenses occur rapidly enough to overwhelm the police." The second is that the would-be rioters must find a way to judge the composition of the crowd. Haddock and Poisby describe the individuals who go about testing the desire of the crowds riot entrepreneurs. [Scholars Stage]
  • This webpage is for fellow minority shareholders of Life Insurance Company of Alabama ("LICOA"), a small insurance company that is headquartered in Gadsden, Alabama. The company has two classes of stock which trade on the OTC, one is "LINS" and the other is "LINSA". Despite being owned by a diverse group of shareholders, LICOA is controlled by descendants of its founder Clarence W Daugette, who work for and/or sit on the board of the company. The interests of this family group inevitably conflict with the interests of those of us shareholders who are "outside the family". Over the three years from 2017-2019, LICOA earned only $856,126 on average per year. The return on equity that we shareholders are getting is barely 2%. The investments that LICOA owns earn more than this – they had net investment income of $4.6 million on a $101 million bond portfolio last year. So our capital has been leveraged by a factor of 2.5 to one, only for our return to be lower than the underlying investments. We are taking more risk and getting less reward – a totally unacceptable tradeoff. LICOA stock trades at depressed prices. The 52 week low for a LINSA share was $11.24, only 29% of the amount of capital and surplus per share (which was $39.13) that the LINSA shares had at the end of 2019. Two LAWSUITS have been filed by different groups of LICOA shareholders against the company and certain of its directors. Please contact us if you would like to receive copies of the complaints or other pleadings. LICOA has made offers to settle litigation with some of the plaintiffs via buying them out. In March 2020, they offered some plaintiffs the equivalent of $25 per LINSA share. [LICOA]
  • Under democracy there is a false choice between Trump and Biden. Middle class U.S. "kulaks" can have a guy who sacrificed thousands of lives to prop up his stock market bubble for a couple extra weeks or the totally demented figurehead of the political coalition seeking to dispossess them. Biden's base hates kulaks so much that he still insists we would have to have open borders bringing in more coronavirus cases if we got our epidemic under control. [CBS]
  • The lenders that fund Chapter 11 reorganizations exert significant influence over the bankruptcy process through the contract associated with the debtor-in-possession ("DIP") loan. In this Article, we study a large sample of DIP loan contracts and document a trend: over the past three decades, DIP lenders have steadily increased their contractual control of Chapter 11. In fact, today's DIP loan agreements routinely go so far as to dictate the very outcome of the restructuring process. When managers sell control over the bankruptcy case to a subset of the creditors in exchange for compensation, we call this transaction a "bankruptcy process sale." We model two situations where process sales raise bankruptcy policy concerns: (1) when a senior creditor leverages the debtor's need for financing to lock in a preferred outcome at the outset of the case ("plan protection"); and (2) when a senior creditor steers the case to protect its claim against litigation ("entitlement protection"). We show that both scenarios can lead to bankruptcy outcomes that fail to maximize the value of the firm for creditors as a whole. [SSRN]


Anonymous said...

It’s not so much that they’re “worshipping liberalism.” They *are* Christians.

Christianity has always had a powerful ability to mutate, while maintaining common characteristics and thought structures. This is the future (and past) of the Jesus movement.

Liberalism is secular Christianity. It's actually more Christian than the religious right. That is why it resonates so strongly with people, they know this stuff, it's ingrained in their culture. This is a huge problem for our tribe.

Making yourself feel guilty and suffer is very much a Christian thing. That"s were white guilt comes from. In the past they made us feel guilty over sexuality, now we have to feel guilty for being white.

The Christian structure of thought maps perfectly onto what were seeing now: the death of a man generating "an over-exuberant pity... break[ing] down the floodgates of cultural life" as Nietzsche put it. This must be admitted.

Anonymous said...

If you are in Minneapolis, you better get out now. It has been abandoned to the criminals and is about to become the next Detroit. The weak and likely the last White mayor of Minneapolis who blamed all the violence on “white supremacists” is now down on his knees crying.

Note: Tucker Carlson had a monologue last night about it. While I agree with the monologue, it doesn’t change the fact that yet another American city has been abandoned to black mobs which is going to make refugees out of its White population. See also Birmingham.

Anonymous said...

If we look not with our eyes but with our hearts, we can see even farther. Back, to the beginning of time.

We see hundreds of wandering tribes of the great steppe disappear and perish in the dust of history. We see that we Hungarians have neither disappeared nor perished, but have established our homeland in the ring of Latin, Germanic and Slavic peoples, preserving our unique quality. We opened our hearts to Christianity, heard the word of God, heeded it, and made it the foundation of our state. As it is written, "Remember that all men are born in the same state, and that nothing lifts you up, only humility, and nothing pulls you down, only pride and hatred." Our country is standing on this foundation to this day.

We fended off the attacks of Western empires one after the other. The recovered from the devastating blows of the Eastern pagans. We did what the other peoples of the steppe could not. We fought, we organised, we adapted and we kept our place in Europe.