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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Scott Sumner Sinks to Matt Brueing's Level

      I say that tongue in cheek. Actually one of Sumner's own conservative readers advised him to stop letting Brueing bait him 

      "Scott, Don’t allow this clown to continue to bait you. Further volleys in this vein can only diminish you and elevate him. moveon.org."

       http://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=27684

       Sumner himself has promised not be further 'baited' as the name of this last post was 'Last Reply to Matt Brueing.'

       Will Sumner leave it there if Brueing replies again? It's out of character-usually he keeps going and going-I still remember the time he argued with Simon Wren-Lewis for a month over the use of the phrase 'consumption smoothing' and what the identity S=I means. 

       I kind of hope this won't be the end of the debate. I don't think there's too much worry about Sumner actually being mature as he answered Brian Donohue quoted above like this:

       "But it’s so much fun to shoot ducks in a barrel, especially annoying ducks."

        Anyway, this debate seems to be over the welfare state and it's effect on U.S. poverty. Sumner is claiming that Brueing has no basis to claim that poverty would be higher without welfare. One of the problems with this debate is properly defining what is meant by this loaded term 'welfare.'

        Brueing tries to critique Sumner's style which he calls 'Grandpa Sumner.' There's some truth in it but another characteristic of Sumner is the No True Scotsman defense-he usually claims that anyone who criticizies him is too stupid to understand him. 

        "Matt seems to have forgotten to take his meds, as his newest post is one of thesilliest I’ve ever read.  Here’s an example:"

War On Poverty Backtrack
You’ll recall Grandpa Sumner’s initial argument for why transfers don’t net reduce poverty went like this:
  1. Since the War On Poverty started, poverty hasn’t fallen at all. I know this because aint that what them dat gum progressive bloggers say?
  2. Because poverty hasn’t declined, then that means anti-poverty transfer incomes only crowd out market incomes. Else, you would have seen poverty decline.
  3. Therefore transfers don’t reduce poverty.

     "I was surprised to read this, because I believe exactly the opposite, that poverty has declined, and that transfers have reduced poverty, especially among the elderly."

     "So I looked for the passages where I made those claims, and all I could find is this:"

In fact, we spent trillions on the War on Poverty.  Unfortunately, poverty won and we lost.  Don’t believe me?  Isn’t the blogosphere full of progressives complaining that the poverty rate is just as high as in 1967?  I’m actually more optimistic about the living standards of most poor people than the typical progressive. Their living standards have risen with the general population.  But if “non-market income” actually explains the gains made by the poor, then this suggests that non-market incomes have merely crowded out market incomes.
It’s absurd to claim that it’s “easy” to solve a problem like poverty.  Yes, it’s easy if you are dealing with a group of people for whom you don’t have to worry about work disincentives.  Obviously it’s easier to reduce poverty for the elderly, since they are mostly retired.  Nixon did that.  That would also be true of the disabled, if we could accurately measure disability.  (The fact that we cannot partly explains the huge surge in disability, even as Americans are healthier than ever before.)

     "I guess Matt doesn’t understand sarcasm, or the phrase: “I’m actually more optimistic about the living standards of most poor people than the typical progressive. Their living standards have risen with the general population.” Or “Nixon did that.”  Nor has he read my post entitled “The Amazing Decline in American Poverty.” I presume he didn’t understand the sarcasm in the last sentence of my first paragraph, which in context was referring to what must be true if the progressive claim about no decline in poverty since the late 1960s were true.  Then I found this:

Again and again, he has called wealth inequality data “nonsense on stilts” because it ignores the fact that wealth inequality is just a life-cycle phenomenon.

    "Did I really say it was just a life cycle phenomenon?  Only a fool would believe such a thing.  Wealth inequality reflects many factors.  I searched and searched and could not find where I had said that.  Matt didn’t help me, as he linked to posts that did NOT say that.  Conclusion; Matt just made it up."

      http://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=27684

      Brueing didn't make it up. Many others in the comments section have made the same point about Scott trying to boil down inequality to being mostly just about life cycle effects-he often claims that at some point in their lives most people are in all 5 income levels which obviously rests on the life cycle argument. 

       Now it's possible that Brueing somehow misunderstood Sumner. but if so, a lot of other people have made the same mistake which might suggest that Sumner is not overly endowed with the gift of clarity. Here is where I read him as talking about life cycle effects. 
    
       "I’ve done many posts explaining why public opinion polls of Americans on numerical questions are utterly meaningless.  The public is horrible at math, and their answers tell us almost nothing about what they actually believe.  One bogus poll that keeps getting touted by liberals claims to show that the American public has views on income distribution that are far to the left of those of Mao, perhaps even to the left of Pol Pot.  I don’t really know why liberals want to tout these poll results, as if this sort of policy regime were actually implemented we would all starve to death, just as many tens of millions starved in Cambodia and China under much less extreme attempts to impose equality."

       "Jordan Weissmann is the latest liberal to be sucked in by this nonsense:

Subjects estimated that the top 20 percent of U.S. households owned about 59 percent of the country’s net worth, whereas in the real world, they owned about 84 percent of it. In their own private utopia, subjects said that the top quintile would claim just 32 percent of the wealth. In fact, the ideal looked strikingly like Sweden.

      "If every single America had EXACTLY the same wealth at each age (i.e. all 20 year olds had identical wealth, as did all 55 year olds) then wealth inequality would still exceed the figures that Americans supposedly prefer, purely due to life cycle effects."

       http://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=27648

      If that last paragraph has nothing to do with life cycle effects, I challenge you to tell me why. Brueing himself started a post with this missive:

       "I am not really sure what Scott Sumner is all about these days. Many years ago, he was like “monetary policy should utilize an NGDP target” and people were like “that’s an interesting thought.” But now, he’s kind of gone into mission creep mode where he comments on things that he’s not so knowledgeable on."

        http://mattbruenig.com/2014/09/29/cutting-poverty-is-super-easy/

        You know I'm not a Sumner fan, but I find this a rather superficial reading of him-much like Krugman dismissing Market Monetarists as not politically relevant. I might wish Krugman were correct but I think he's only defining relevance in a superficial way. 

       I don't think Sumner has really changed. I think this was always his modus operandi. He's always been quite explicit that his goal is to 'make the world safe for Neoliberalism again'-he uses this term which makes him a bit unique-not many Neoliberals actually call themselves a Neoliberal. 

           I don't think there's any 'mission creep'-as the mission was never simply to advocate monetary policy and let fiscal policymakers do what they will. His claims of a zero multiplier-or even negative multiplier-along with full monetary offset mean that he's not just a monetary advocate but a fiscal advocate as well. His argument is that if you follow his monetary prescriptions then we by default will end up with conservative supply side policies. This was always the playbook. That Brueing believed otherwise shows that Sumner is pretty good as he fooled him too. 

           Sumner's argument here is mostly quibbling.  Brueing is right when he points out that Sumner likes to confound the issue of poverty and middle class and median wage stagnation. I pointed out to Sumner that the War on Poverty was never really tried but was aborted in its infacy with the election of Nixon. His answer: 'so you're saying Brueing is wrong?'

           Another facile comment there. My point is neither to advocate nor take issue with Brueing but discuss the issue of the welfare state and poverty.  I don't think Brueing says that the welfare state has expanded since Reagan. If he did then he's wrong. 
        

       

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pimco Management vs. Paul Krugman on Bill Gross Leaving Pimco

      What we have are two theories as why he left Pimco. Krugman suggests Gross getting everything wrong on a 'Treasury bubble' back in 2011 might have had a little something to do with his departure from the fund he himself founded 43 years ago.

       "I don’t know anything about what’s been going on internally at Pimco; I just read the same stories as everyone else. I have, however, written a lot about Pimco’s macroeconomic analysis(which drove its bond-investment decisions)."

       "The interesting thing is the Pimco was initially a bond bull, based on the correct understanding that deficits don’t crowd out lending when the economy is in a liquidity trap; but it then went off the rails, with Bill Gross insisting that rates would spike when the Fed ended QE2. I tried to explain why this was wrong, and got a lot of flak from people insisting that the great Gross knew more than any ivory-tower academic. But I knew what I was talking about!"
       http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/27/gross-gone/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Opinion&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body
     However, Pimco management is taking pains to insist that while he did indeed leave based on 'philosophical differences' with management these had nothing to do with investing. 
      "Pimco and its parent firm Allianz moved to stem concern over Bill Gross' surprise exit Friday, assuring investors that the relationship remains solid and they expect client loss to be minimal."
      "Officials from the two firms Monday looked to downplay the loss of Gross, who founded the firm 43 years ago."
       "Pimco CEO Doug Hodge emphasized that the differences between the two sides were tied to management and media strategy and not to investing. The firm had acknowledged Friday that "fundamental differences" led to the breakup."
       "Those differences did not pertain to clients' portfolio investment strategy," Hodge said in a conference call. "Those (nonstrategy issues) were the ones that were broadly at issue with Bill, and, as a result, his decision to resign."
      http://www.cnbc.com/id/102041319

      So it wasn't about investment strategy but about 'media strategy.' So if everything was fine on the investment strategy front why fire someone who allegedly hasn't hurt the investment strategy and just happens to be the founder of the firm and whose name is more or less synonymous with the firm? If it's just about media matters? At least there is no problem with investing at the firm. Oh wait:

     "The biggest issue at Pimco from a strategy standpoint has been a mass exodus of client money over the past 15 months or so, particularly from the firm's flagship Total Return Fund, which has lost more than $40 billion in all. The $221 billion fund remains the largest bond fund in the world and is still the core of the firm's $1.97 trillion in assets under management."

       I mean that kind of does sound like an investing strategy matter. Krugman has weighed in again:

       http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/29/nobody-could-have-predicted-bill-gross-edition/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Opinion&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body

     As Pimco clearly has had problems with it's investment strategy, it's a wonder they have time to fire such a household name and the firm's founder to boot over some smaller non-investing matter. 



From Never Bet on the Giants to Never Bet on the Steelers?

     I'm almost tempted to say that after yesterday's fizz out where they lost at home 27-24 at home to the previously winless Bucs. It turns out it's a good thing I broke my rule of never betting on the Giants as they were the team to put me up $900 dollars on the weekend.

     http://diaryofarepublicanhater.blogspot.com/2014/09/giants-45-redskins-14-why-rules-are.html

     I was pretty unlucky yesterday. My picks for the Colts and Charges were spot on as they easily covered but the Steelers let Tampa hang around all day and steal the win late. As it was I needed an 8 point Steeler win as I bet the spread. I had a feeling this was not the way to go-the Steelers are not really great at covering spreads as they tend to play close games and don't put that many teams away.

     Then the Eagles my second underdog of the weekend-after getting the Giants right as a dog-took a 21-10 lead in San Francisco but then let the Niners dominate the rest of the game coming from behind 26-21. So yesterday was a pure wash with me being up for the week purely on the Giants win.

      At this point in the season I have a few thoughts. One is that the Bengals  may have gone to the next level this year. We know they're a powerhouse at home-they were 8-0 least year both straight up and against the spread and at this point I think you take them in any home game against anyone probably including the Seahawks or Denver.

     What really impresses me is that win on the road in Baltimore in week 1 which suggests maybe they will be able to win a few different stadiums than their own this year. It's also amazing to me that this team allows just 11 points a game-this is hardly the Bengals' reputation. Usually you think of the Bengals as a team with a high octane offense whose defense then gives up points as fast as QB Andy Dalton and company score them.

     A good test for them will be next week in New England. This will be very interesting both for how the Bengals handle this and how the Pats do. If you go by the past, this should be a slam dunk taking New England but my sense is that the Bengals may be a little better this year and the Pats may be a bit worse. They had a really bad loss week 1 against Miami seeing a double digit halftime lead dissipating into a double digit loss. Then last week they barely outlasted the Raiders 16-9 where Brady seemed not able to get too much going.

     So those are the first two teams I wonder if they haven't undergone something of a 'sea change'-the Bengals taking a leg up this year the Pats moving a leg down. Last the Saints. The book says you play the Saints exactly like the Bengals-take them at home bet against them on the road. They're bad 1-3 start can to be an extent chalked up to playing 3 of 4 on the road to start. However, even considering that they've been on the road they've looked awful and they were just riddled in Dallas last night. I knew the Cowboys were the choice but couldn't bring myself to bet on them. A bridge too far as it were.

     Even their win at home-a 20-9  win vs. the Peterson-less Vikings-was not terribly impressive. I'm wondering if this team is going to take a step back this year. I mean they should be seen as a lock to go against on the road but maybe even less trustworthy at home. I mean they're favored by 11 points vs. the Bucs this week. Normally that should be a given. They've outscored Tampa 83-7 the last 2 years at the Superdome. I do think they'll take it and probably cover-they will be hungry for a big win after the Dallas debacle but if they fail to cover here, you have to think that they are in fact taking a step back this year.

     So the Bengals are-maybe-a little better this year and the Saints and Pats are maybe a little worse though I feel a little more conviction on the first two theories and I think that we need to see more to verify any of these theories. A win for the Bengals in NE would be a big boon to the to premises on both those teams for opposite reasons while if the Saints fail to cover at home against Tampa with the Bucs due for a let down after a rare win and the Saints needing a big statement after such a bad outing in Dallas, you begin to think that they really have take a step back this year.

     The other teams I'm thinking about this week? The Giants over Atlanta-if my Big Blue are going to be a factor this year they absolutely need a win here and the Eagles over the Rams-if the Eagles fail here then I think that no matter how good they may look on paper with Nick Foles, they are the same old up and down Eagles.

     Then I have the Chargers over the Jets and the Seahawks over the Redskins. The Chargers are another team that might be for real this year but I'm not wholly sold on till I see more. A lopsided win here over a team they should blowout would be a step in the right direction-like they had this week against the Jaguars. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rational Expectations and Five Triple Day Moves in the Markets in Five Days

     It seems to me that Sumner suffers from confirmation bias-as everything proves he's right according to him. Everything proves that Keynesianism is dying, that the multiplier is zero-indeed that there is a negative multiplier-that there is always full monetary offset and that expectations are wholly rational.

    For example the 1987 market crash proves he's right-as it didn't lead to a recession-ergo, there are no bubbles. Of course, what the crash doesn't prove is that the market is irrational though as he says it's not clear to this day why the market sold off 20 percent in one day. Yet why would rational market participants engage in such unjustified panic selling-so much storm and stress over nothing? Does this not at all suggest Keynes' animal spirits?

    I am currently reading Jim Cramer's Get Rich Carefully. He makes the point that on any given day anything the market can do anything. He mentions the Flash Crash of 2010 where the market lost 1000 points in a few minutes for no reason at all. Even a blue chip stock like Proctor and Gamble dropped from $60 to $40 in a few minutes-with no rational reason at all.
k
    This week I we've had a week not unlike the 1987 October Crash or the Flash Crash with the market up or down by triple digits every day. We started with two such down days then had a very big up day Weds and an even bigger down day Thurs and another very big down day Friday. I've had a lot of luck with Bank of America since news of their settlement with the DOJ hit a few months ago.

   This week due to my frustrations in trying to time Gilead and Yahoo I figured put all my option money in a $17.00 BAC call figuring it's the one stock who's tendencies I know the best through long trial and error. On Weds I got out of all other option positions and double my position in BAC 200 calls.

   Of course, the common wisdom would criticize me for no diversification at all but I just figured the way the stock was moving the last few weeks there was very little chance of a big down move-what could be the news that would bring it down? After all the big drag-the $17 billion fine to the DOJ had been fully priced in and now there was nothing holding it down.

    On a purely rational, fundamental basis I think I was right. However, what I forgot is what Cramer mentions in his book-the 'micro' in BAC may be very good right now but there is all this 'macro' panic-the large indexes have been very volatile especially since the Alibaba IPO.

     So on Thurs BAC dropped from 17.20 to $16.85 for reasons that had nothing to do with the fundamentals of BAC and something that has everything to do with the market is getting nervous for some reason-animal spirits?-that has no real tangible rational basis. Actually Crmaer thinks the tail wagging the dog is actually Russia and the Ukraine.

      I did actually find his advice on Thursday night helpful-that it's rarely the right move to sell into weakness. I found this plausible as he admitted that the one time it was the right move was in 2008. I remember 2008 and that was a good time to be a bear-I made some nice money shorting the bank stocks that year. For more on this crazy week see here.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/102037345

    Speaking of unexplainable market moves, I have this idea of applying this analysis to other stuff-like NFL football games. In a way Denver's loss in the Super Bowl last year is kind of like 1987 or the Flash Crash. Based upon their 2013 performance theirt 43-7 loss to Seattle seems out of nowwhewre. It wasn't shocking that they lost; it was lot more suprising that they were blown out but what was most shocking was that they only scored 7 points. A 63-27 loss would have been a lot less shocking.

     It strikes me that the 2013 Broncos are a movie that we've seen before. They were a 13-3 teams and they set an NFL record in points scored, outscoring opponents 606-399. They scored under 31 points only 3 times in the regular season. In the playoffs that actually were somewhat slower offensively scoring just 24 and 26 points during the playoffs in wins over San Diego and New England. However, the 7 points was out of nowhere and shocking for a team that had set a record, scoring over 600 points. In a classic offense-defense showdown-the Seahawks scored a 'paltry' 417 points while giving up 239. So defense won to say the least.

    Again, we've seen this movie before-we saw it in the NFL with the 1983 Redskins, the 1998 Vikings and the 2007 Patriots. All these teams set what were at the time NFL records in points scored and then went on to come up disappointly short. The Skins scored a record 541 points in 83, led by Theisman and John Riggins but this record setting offense was a no show in the Super Bowl against the Raiders, as they were dismantled 38-9.

    Just like the 2013 Broncos the offense failed to even score 10 points when it mattered. Their point differentials were quite similar as Washington's 83 point differential was 541-332.  In the semifinals against the Rams the sky seemed the limit for the high octane Skins who smoke the Dickerson led Rams 51-7.  Yet what I find even more  interesting is that in the Championship game in Washington the point machine noticeably slowed down in the second half. In the first half they ran up a 21-0 lead but in the second the Niners tied it up at 21 and they needed overtime to eek out a 24-21 win.

    This strikes me as somewhat like the Broncos 2013 p;layoffs where though they won both games their offense was a little less spectacular. The 2013 Broncos and 1983 Redskins were very similar. The other two teams that were in some ways closer to each other. However, both the 98 Vikings and 2007 Patriots were similar but in some ways more similar to each other. Both were unbeatable all year-literally in the case of the Pats, the next thing to for the Vikings.

    The Vikings shattered the 83 Skins record with 556 points scored against 296 allowed. At 15-1 the record setting Vikes were the favorites but after blowing out the Cardinals in the 2nd round, lost a 30-27 overtime loss to the 14-2 Falcons. This was different in that they weren't blown out and the offense wasn't wholly shutdown like the Washington and Denver were but it nevertheless surprised everyone and was another case of a team seemingly unbeatable in the regular season with a record setting offense, falling short.

    Then of course we have the 2007 Pats, the first team ever to go 16-0. The 17-14 loss to my Giants was not a blowout but it still was stunning-after all they came in 18-0 to a Giants team that was only 10-6 in the regular season. Just as both the Redskins and Denver started looking a little less impressive just before the big game, the Pats hadn't been so dominating in the playoffs, winning their two games just 31-20 over the Jaguars and 21-12 in the Championship against the Chargers. Actually despite scoring 589 regular season points to just 274 allowed during the regular season, they had seemed to even slow down somewhat over the last 6 regular season games, having a lot more close games and not scoring quite as many points as during the first 10.

     While many commentators dismissed it, I still think that the final regular season game where they had to rally from 11 points to just edge out the Giants 38-35 gave the Giants a lot of confidence and had a lot to do with them making the SB much less defeating the Pats in the rematch.

     So is there something about setting new scoring records along with record point differentials-recall that Bill James' Abstract tells us a large point differential is s sign of a strong team that's conducive to seeing your offense and team come up short at the last minute when it really matters? This gets back to the economists' distinction of correlation and causation. Maybe there is no causation but I still wonder what the odds would really be to see such strong correlation.
    

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bond Vigilante Bill Gross Leaves Pimco for Janus

      It actually sounds like he was about to be 'asked to leave' as he's been exhibiting 'increasingly erratic behavior'-according to some of his coworkers at Pimco.

      Gross was one of Krugman's signature 'bond vigilantes.' Maybe his 'erratic behavior' is due to him reflecting on all that money he lost a few years ago on the 'Treasury bubble.'

     In any case, for now, investors of Janus think having Gross join the firm is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

      "Bill Gross has an exemplary track record with decades of success and he will offer an exceptional approach to navigating today's increasingly risky markets with a focus on macro, unconstrained strategies. His involvement provides Janus a unique opportunity to offer strategies and products that are highly complementary to those already managed by our credit-based fixed income team," Richard Weil, CEO of Janus Capital, said in a statement."

       http://www.cnbc.com/id/102000441

        No matter how things go for him at Janus, perhaps we shouldn't feel too bad for him-he's worth $2.4 billion dollars. However, his 'erratic behavior' shows that even for billionaires, if 'you cut me I will bleed.' 

        After the absurd racist behavior of Don Sterling some worried that there's no way you can really punish a billionaire. Time would prove that worry wrong as his punishment totally humiliated him-being banned from running his own team, being banned from the league for life. 

         When you're that rich it may not be easy to punish you financially. However, you can be humiliated-Zizek would say you can be hurt 'symbolically' and symbolic pain is always the worse-think of 'symbolic pain' as injury to your social standing

          Gross may be fine financially after his inflatonphobia was shown to be all wet, but symbolically he took a hit and maybe that's why he's so erratic these days. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Giants 45 Redskins 14: Why Rules Are Meant to be Broken

      Thank goodness they are meant to be broken otherwise I would have not bet on the Giants yet again. What can I tell you. I had promised after their terrible game Week 1 in Detroit not to be on the Giants again.

       http://diaryofarepublicanhater.blogspot.com/2014/09/cpi-falls-in-august-giants-fan-and.html

       So what made me do this again? A few things probably. First of all, I'm a big fan and always want to think they can win. However, in all honesty they looked a lot better the last couple of weeks. In their second game-a 25-14 loss to the Cardinals that I actually saw at the stadium; my first time watching a football game at the stadium ever-they looked a lot better. Week 1 they just got beat on all sides of the game-offense, defense, special teams.

     Against the Cardinals they were a lot better. Eli had a very strong game with lots of completions and yards but he-and the rest of the team-made lots of stupid mistakes that beat themselves.

    Still beating yourself through bad mental errors is a major step up from getting beaten up badly which is what happened against the Lions. Then last week after making some mistakes early against an unbeaten Houston team, they shook it of and played a very strong game winning 30-17.

    So I figured they had a chance this week against the Redskins. They were dominating against Houston and they have been so tonight against the Skins-who knows how much longer we will be allowed to call them that?

    Add to this the fact that the Giants always play well against Washington-year after year, going back to 1984. Check it out, they've absolutely dominated them since then.

    So I broke my rule and won this time. It's going so well I'm writing this now with 9 minutes still left right now. Since I started writing this, the Giants have scored again and then picked off Kirk Cousins again and the Giants with a 38-14 lead are at the 10 yard line again now.

     No doubt, part of why I beet this was why I bet week 1-Week 3 like Week 1 was good for me, I made $720 over the weekend; I was right on the Bengals and Saints, just missing on the Patriots who of course beat the Raiders but only by 7 points.

     UPDATE: The Giants just scored again to go up 45-14. You know, before the season I was saying that the one thing you could say to build a case for the Giants is that everyone thought they would be lousy. As I recall that's what all the brilliant prognosticators were saying in 2007 and 2011 too.

     Another update: the Giants win here tonight gives them 96 all time against the Skins which is the most of any NFL team against another one.

      Eli had exactly 300 yards-he's just been relieved by Ryan Nassib. I notice that the while Eli threw 4 TDs tonight and ran for a 5th and the Giants intercepted Cousins 4 times, Eli had at least as many commercials tonight.

      Yeah, sure. He's not as great as Brady. I mean Eli hasn't won a Super Bowl in 10 years while Brady has won 2 since then-oh, wait.

       He'll never be as good as his brother he has won twice as many Super Bowls-oh wait,

       This weekend I'm going with the Colts over Tennessee and Steelers over Tampa. As I got the jump on this throw away game tonight, if I get both of those I might not bet on the 4 o'clock games on Sunday. If I don't then I will take the Chargers over Jacksonville and maybe the Eagles over the Niners. As I already got the Giants as a dog straight up maybe I won't try that again with Philly if by then it's a good day.

      Getting the picks wrong sucks-today in the market was a day where everything went wrong, but I'm going to try to follow Jim Cramer in believing that you don't want to 'sell into weakness.'

      I've done pretty well with my football picks so far though-a 7-4 record so far and this game puts me up $1750 on the year, a nice 60% gain. Of course, getting picks right carries a certain risk-that you get too carried away-as a someone who enjoys market trading I know this all too well. So if both the Steelers and Colts come through, maybe I should sit out the evening games.

       As much as anything these games I'm looking at for Sunday is a bet against the teams my picks are playing. The Bucs, Titans, and Jaguars are all at the bottom of the NFL power rankings.

        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2211078-nfl-power-rankings-2014-teams-poised-to-make-biggest-moves-in-week-4

       
     
        

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Ray Rice Phenomeon and the Revenge of the Football Widow

      It's been suggested even before the current huge inflow of news of football players behaving very badly that the NFL won't last, that it's kind of the relic of an earlier time that tolerated such organized violence.

      There might seem to be some truth in this claim when you consider how strict the rules are becoming on defenders-giving a built in advantage for NFL offenses vs. NFL defenses-the furor over things like the name of the Washington Redskins-it is just a matter of time before the Redskins are no more?-the President of United States himself recently saying that though he's a NFL fan, if he had a son today he wouldn't let him play football.


      Now we have the current furor over all these players being accused of some appalling offseason behavior. I'm certainly not going to defend  the behavior of Ray Rice or Adrian Petterson or Jonathan Dwyer.

      I do think that there is something to the saw that this is how Petterson was raised. I'm certainly not saying what he has done to we now know two of his children is in anyway an appropriate word for what he calls 'disciplining my child' but it is true that he was raised to believe this was appropriate so you can say this is what he was taught and he didn't necessarily realize that the rules of the larger society have now changed. So while his conduct is not defensible it's not impossible to at least understand which perhaps should be at least considered in judging him.

       I guess what I wonder about though is the way this story keeps growing and growing. It seems to me that those crying out about this terrible behaviour want to hang this on the NFL. My rather tongue in cheek title just refers to the fact that many of the people criticising the league don't care anything about football and perhaps think it should go defunct anyway. Maybe many wives will be glad if their husbands are now free to go shopping with them for a new china set on Sundays.

       These players deserve the criticism and need to be punished to the full extent of the law. What I wonder about is why the NFL is taking such a big hit. You have the President of the National Organization of Woman demanding that the NFL basically end the social evil of domestic violence. What is the real criticism of the League here? You can argue that Rice's original punishment was much to lenient. I would tend to agree though I should point out that the previous NFL rules in place at the time didn't call for anything more than this.

      If the initial punishment didn't fit the crime he has now been suspended indefinitely form the NFL-he will not play football this season and maybe never will again.

      The new policy I think is very appropriate-6 weeks for the first offense, a lifetime ban for the second. However, this hasn't satisfied the voracious critics-now it's become a witch hunt on what did Goddell know and when did he know it?

       What I think is going on is that the haters of the NFL are already trying to table it. The NFL is not about football anymore it exists to solve the problems of society.

         P.S. What I'm saying I guess is that while the vile behavior of these men must be punished-after a fair trial-I'm rather ambivalent about the NFL itself being targeted. Did the NFL create domestic violence? To hear NOW tell it, you'd think so.

         I also think that if Goddell's original punishment was insufficient it was not wholly impossible to understand as many philanthropic groups defended Rive and even his own now wife who was the victim defended him. I hear some voracious critics of the League complain that most battered women defend their abuser so that's not excuse. This again suggests that the League is not about football but they're supposed to be sociologists. I just don't think this is fair criticism.

         And yes, I'd like to hear about football on the morning of football Sunday on ESPN not about Ray Rice and Goddell.  I bet now a days the football widows enjoy watching ESPN more than their husbands.

        In any case, it's truly living up to it's name: NFL means the No Fun League and it's only going to get worse.