Archive for November, 2010

Markets Throw Fed a Curveball

November 23, 2010

Wall Street Journal, Monday, November 22, 2010


Criticism Hinders Fed’s Plan

Doubts About Quanitative Easing Have Spurred Treasury Yields Higher

Markets Throw Fed a Curveball (graph shown)

“Criticism of the Federal Reserve’s  latest bond-buying program… is muting the plan’s potential benefits for the economy.

These doubts have contributed to an increase in yields on  U.S. Treasury bonds since the Fed announced the program on Nov. 3, they say.”

“The criticism ‘has raised questions about the Fed’s ability and resolve to control the yield curve,” …

Curveball” is a baseball term for a pitch.  A curveball is often effective when it is unexpected and cause the batter to miss the ball.  See for a further explanation.   (more…)

GM Playing the IPO Game

November 18, 2010

Today, Thursday, November 18, 2010, General Motors started trading their stock on the New York Stock Exchange.

“The start of trading in GM shares represents the last step in a blockbuster initial public offering negotiated by the Obama administration that raised $20.1 billion after pricing the automaker’s shares at $33 each.”

100 million shares were sold in the first 20 minutes when the shares ranged between $35. and $36. a share.   Daniel Ackerman, the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) to be in September commented on CNBC in response to questions about prospects, including stock prospects, stated we are looking “at the long-term; “that’s the way we are playing the game.

Playing the game” is a sports and games idiom used in business a lot.  I guess one could say capitalism and business is a game with rules.

At any rate, this is an historic event and good for the U.S.

Immigration Hardball: A National Doubling-Down on Enforcement

November 16, 2010

The New York Times, Monday, November 15, 2010:  Editorial Page

Immigration Hardball

“Republicans will have the next two years to set the immigration agenda in the House of Representatives. If their legislation looks anything like their campaign ads, there will be no way for illegal immigrans to get right with the law and no real solution to the problem of illegal immigration.  Just a national doubling-down on enforcement, with still more border fencing and immmigration agents, workplaces locked down, and states and localities setting police dragnets on what always wan–and still ought to be–federal turf.” …

The head of ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) under POResident George W. Bush once gave the Senate a ballpark estimate: $94 billion (to detain and deport every last illegal immigrant it finds).

There are two baseball idioms (in italic) in this article as stated above:  “hardball” and ‘ballpark estimate”, the latter similar to “in the ballpark” (see for the explanations) and “doubling-down”, a gambling game idiom, used in the game of black jack for doubling a bet.

The author of the editorial believes the Republicans will get much tougher with illegal immigration.

Hermes Clan Plays Defense

November 11, 2010

The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, November 10, 2010


PARIS–“The family behind French fashion house Hermes International is considering funneling its shares into an unlisted holding company, said a key family member, as a way to defend Hermes from its big, new and unwanted shareholder, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA.”

Defense, plays defense, is used in all sports and games, as well as in military operations.  Offense is the opposite.  Here, however, The Wall Street Journal article uses defense as a sports/games idiom.  In American football, a traditional autumn game, the defense tries to prevent the offense from moving down the field to score.

NPR discussion of President Bush’s autobiography,”Decision Points”

November 11, 2010

National Public Radio (NPR), Tuesday, November 9, 2010

During a discussion of former President, George W. Bush’s new autobiography, Decision Points, and other presidential autobiographies, Presidential Historian, Michael Beschloss (who had not yet read Mr. Bush’s autobiography at the time of the conversation), said that usually presidential autobiographies are not very good, that generally there is a low bar.

A low bar is a track and field idiom, a bar that is easy to jump over, a high bar the opposite in the high jump and pole vault events

And They’re Out”: Politics and Baseball Cards

November 6, 2010

And They’re Out“, Headline on Op-Art page, by Thomas Mann, Norman J. Ornstein and Charlie Ross, NY Times, Friday, November 5, 2010

“The Midterm Elections on Tuesday brought a sudden end to the political careers U.S.) of many senators and representatives….

Below are trading cards to commemorate just six of these soon-to-be-cut power players.  Hold on to them:  some of these pols just might take the field again.”

On this Op-Art page are pictures of six US senators and representatives on simulated baseball cards with their political votes and  statistics as if they were on a baseball team, for example: Blanche Lincoln, Senator from Arkansas, has a baseball in the corner of the card with ARK printed on it, and BATS: Left   THROWS: RIGHT  ELECTED: 1998 and other information including “Career Highlights”.

This whole NY Times page uses baseball metaphors.  The people pictured on the cards were in and now they have been thrown out, not by umpire calls, but by the electorate, by the people.

If you are not from the US, you might not know that collecting baseball cards is a passion among young men and perhaps some females.  Some rare cards become very valuable.  One just sold for over $200,000.

Fed Fires $600 Billion Stimulus Shot

November 4, 2010


Game Changer

November 1, 2010

From a mailed Christian Church advertisement:  On the overleaf:  game changer

“-a person, an idea or an event that completely changes the way a situation develops”

(“In the left hand corner is a color picture of a baseball outfielder flying to catch a ball.)

(On the inside of the flyer is a picture of a football player being carried by his team after a successful game) and:


“But lasting change can be so difficult to achieve.  The good news is that God is in the life-changing business.  Join us at … Church as we explore together what it takes to make a change and become more like the people we wish we could be.  Be someone who takes a step toward real, posiive, life-change.. be a Game Changer.”

What you Know Can Change Your Life

Taking a Turn for the Best

When Losing is Winning

Keep the Change

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Reid’s Phantom Bill Came Out of Left Field

November 1, 2010

The New Yorker, October 11, 2010: THE POLITICAL SCENE:  AS THE WORLD BURNS

“How the Senate and the White House missed their best chance to deal with climate change”, by Ryan Lizza

In late April, 2010, US Senators Lindsey Graham (Republican), John Kerry, (Democrat), and Joseph Liebowitz, (Independent) had “spent seven months writing a comprehensive bill that promised to transform the nation’s approach to energy and climate change…

The senators had cobbled together an unusual coalition of environmentalists and industries to support a bill that would shift the economy away from carbon consumption and toward environmentally sound sources of energy.  They had the support both of the major green groups and of the biggest polluters.”

They were  about to introduce the bill after negotiating for months, and a series of events, one could even say a tsunami, scuttled it:  White House leaks to Fox News about “permits” was changed by Fox News to the unpopular “gas taxes”; White House initiatives undercut negotiations; and in a speech Majority Leader Reid said  “it was immigration first.”  Senator Graham was put in a terrible position and  withdrew from the group:  “he felt betrayed.”  This comes out of left field, he told reporters.”

The Senate debate expired this summer.

Out of left field is an idiom derived from the game of  baseball:  “It does not have a negative connotation in the literal sense.  Some of the best U.S. ball players have been left-fielders. However, the derivative form, especially the phrase “out of left field” implies a surprise, really a negative surprise, such as, “Where did that come from?”

The derivative, in left field, also has a negative connotation of someone “not getting it”, of not understanding a situation.   However, players in left field are very important to the game.

A Diplomatic Full-Court Press in the Middle East

November 1, 2010

NY Times, February 13, 2010, International News:

“U.S. Envoys Head Out on a Mission to Rally Iran’s Neighbors”, by Mark Landler:  Washington

“With tensions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions hitting new levels, the United States is mounting a diplomatic full-court press in the Middle East, sending four top diplomats, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to confer with Arab and Israeli leaders.”

A full-court press is a basketball term to convey an aggressive move towards the opponent’s basket using most of the basketball court, challenging all the way.

This is fun for me as I was on the Rally Committee at UC Berkeley ages ago, went to many sports events, was a competitive athlete and dated “jocks”, particularly college basketball players, and married a guy who rowed on the Yale University crew.

Took a vacation from the blog, but will be posting several more in the next few days.  (This was put on a page in February, 2010.  Just updated it to a post.)