Archive for March, 2013

Throwing Curveballs, The Supreme Court

March 30, 2013

The New York Times, Friday, March 29, 2013

Weekend Arts II

The Supreme Court, Throwing Curveballs, by Adam Liptak 

Books of the Times:  The Baseball Trust: A History of Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption, by Stuart Banner

In his book, with respect to the history of the U.S. Supreme Court’s treatment of major league baseball and its exemption from anti-trust laws, the author, Mr. Banner maintains that the decisions have been obtuse and off-the point, perhaps influenced by the awe in which professional baseball is held by the public as well as the members of the Court.  He regards the decisions as a deceptive curveball pitch as opposed to a fast ball down the middle.  The decisions dance around the issues, rather than facing them head on. 

“…Still baseball continues to enjoy immunity laws.”

JPMorgan Chase Faces a Full-Court Press of Federal Investigations

March 27, 2013

The New York Times, Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Business Day

JPMorgan Chase Faces a Full-Court Press of Federal Investigations, by Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Ben Postess

It’s basketball season and the season of basketball metaphors:  this one the full-court press.  The federal government is exerting pressure on the the  defendant, JPMorgan Chase, in a court of law not on a basketball court.  Who will miss the basket; who will get the points, metaphorically speaking?

From the article:  “As the nation’s strongest bank, JPMorgan Chase used to be known for carrying special sway with regulators…At least two board members are worried about the mounting problems, and some top executives fear that the bank’s relationships in Washington have frayed as JPMorgan becomes a focus of federal investigations…

All told, at least eight federal agencies are investigating the bank, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.  Federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. in New York are also examining potential wrongdoing at JPMorgan…

The Bank acknowledges its broad regulatory challenges. ‘We get it, and we are dealing aggressively with these issues,’ said Joe Evangelisti, a JPMorgan spokesperson.”

Slam Dunk Fashion

March 18, 2013




Fashion is another way Carmelo Anthony is scoring this season.

“It didn’t take long for Carmelo Anthony-who, in his third season with the New York Knicks, is stirring hopes of breaking the team’s four-decade championship drought–to get comfortable in front of photographer Terry Richardson’s lens..he is becoming more and more attuned to matters of style, attending fashion shows and advocating for out-of-the-box designers like Simon Spurr and Rag & Bone.” 

Carmelo is scoring slam dunks with the New York Knicks, a basketball team, and with the fashion industry.

A Slam Dunk Case

March 18, 2013

The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, March 16-17, 2013

REVIEW: LET THEM EAT, by Ron Rosenbaum

“Listening to the doctors on cable TV, you might think that it’s better to cook up a batch of meth than cook with butter.  But eating basic, earthy, fatty foods isn’t just a supreme experience of the senses–it can actually be good for you.

…sensory satiety is our friend.  Voila!  The foods that best hit that sweet spot and ‘overwhelm the brain’ with pleasure are high-quality fatty foods.  They discourage us from overeating.  A modest serving of short ribs or Peking duck will be both deeply pleasurable and self-limiting.  As the brain swoons into insensate delight, you won’t have to gorge a still-craving cortex with mediocre sensations.  ‘Sensory-specific satiety’ makes a slam-dunk case (it’s science!) for eating reasonable servings of superbly satisfying fatty foods.”

It’s baseball season:  Two slam dunks in one issue of The Wall Street Journal and perhaps more.  A slam dunk is an easy shot in basketball as well as “sensory specific satiety” in pleasurable foods.  There are slam dunks in fashion:  See the next post.

Dr. Seuss and the Current Political Scene

March 16, 2013

3/18/13 New Yorker, p.220



Here is a bit on Dr. Seuss and the current political scene:

 “Said John Boehner, complainer, the Republicans’ man:

‘We’ve run out of road, now we can kick the can.’

The books will not balance; triggered sequestration.

But the markets still rose, like Obama’s frustration.”

One can kick the can down the road, across the street, but who wins?

Tilting the Playing Field

March 16, 2013

The Economist, March 9th, 2013

Finance and Economics: Bankers’ Bonuses

“Tilting the playing field”

Berlin: Regime change in Europe

“London just became a less attractive base for bankers used to taking home bonuses worth many multiples of their basic salary.  On March 5th EU finance ministers decided that European bankers’ bonuses should be capped at a maximum of one times their base salary, rising to two times if shareholders explicitly agree.  

The declared aim of the bonus cap, which was the brainchild of the European Parliament, is to dampen the incentives for reckless risk-taking that in the past led to bank bail-outs and costs to the taxpayer. In practice, the choice facing banks is either to find a way to compete with rivals that are not bound by the cap, or to risk losing star employees to competitors…

Few would disagree that the banks’ bonus culture had to change after pre-crisis excesses.  But going against the grain of variable pay is no answer.  The cap will either drive the best people outside the EU and EI-domiciled banks, or add to fixed cost.  Neither is welcome.”

Tilting the playing field against the EU banks:  that is the question.

Balls Tossed Into the Legislator’s Court

March 12, 2013

THE NEW YORKER, March 11,2013


How Ruth Bader Ginsburg has moved the Supreme Court:

“As a litigator, Ginsburg brought cases before the court that transformed its view of gender issues. Yet, one observer says, “she’s very cautious, conservative in a Burkean sense.” He adds, “She fundamentally does not believe that large-scale social change should come from the courts.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, has worked on gender issues as a private litigator, a Circuit Court Judge and as a Supreme Court Justice: “that a clause in the fourteenth Amendment (‘no state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”) prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, not just race.” 

Ginsburg at the Madison Lecture she gave at New York University Law School in 1972 “challenged one of the great women’s-rights landmarks in American Law, Roe v. Wade…although she supported abortion rights, she had substantial misgivings about how the Court had decided Roe V. Wade, as it went well beyond the Texas statute and declared unconstitutional practically every law banning early-term abortions.” 

” Instead of a broad ruling, Ginsburg asserted the Justices should have addressed abortion the way they approached the cases that she had brought regarding women’s rights.  In those decisions, Ginsburg said, ‘the Court, in effect, opened a dialogue with the political branches of government…the Supreme Court wrote modestly, it put forward no grand philosophy.  The ball, one might say, was tossed by the justices back into the legislators’ court, where the political forces of the day could operate.’ Roe v. Wade ‘invited no dialogue with the legislators.”

Court Raises Bar on Searches at the Border

March 11, 2013

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Saturday/Sunday, March 9-10, 2013

Court Raises Bar on Searches at the Border, by Joe Palozzolo

“A federal appeals court set a higher bar Friday for the U.S. border officials who want to search the laptops or iPads of people crossing into the country. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco…ruled that border authorities must show a ‘reasonable suspicion’ of wrongdoing before digging into electronic devices.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. But courts have fashioned an exception at the border, giving agents broad latitude to search devices, in keeping with their duty to control what enters the country.”

 To set a higher bar is a term from track where the bar is set higher  to make the event more difficult for the runners or jumpers.”

Florida Governor Rick Scott Tacks Left

March 6, 2013

The New York Times, Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Anger and Kudos as Florida Governor Tacks Left, by Lizette Alvarez

MIAMI–“A few days after Gov. Rick Scott of Florida endorsed a Medicaid expansion, a U-turn so sharply executed that it flabbergasted his supporters, the head of a local Tea Party group typed up a “breakup note…” 

Mr. Scott, 60, former health care executive who won the governorship by calling for deep budget cuts and fiercely criticizing President Obama’s health care bill, has, in his third year in office, marched toward the political center, a necessity in this diverse swing state.

Anger and Kudos as Florida Governor Tacks Left, Perplexing Both Sides

According to this article, environmentalists “now have a seat at his table.”

“Kudos” are applauds or cheers for a job or game well done.

Tacks, a sailing term for turning or “coming about”  are discussed in the prior blog, but the term also has strategic implications.

Representative Cantor Tacking Between House Factions?

March 4, 2013

THE NEW YORKER, March 4, 2013


Can Eric Cantor, the Republican Majority Leader, redeem his party and himself?  by Ryan Lizzie

“The chaotic resolution of the fiscal cliff left Republicans even more battered.  Rather than rejuvenating the Republican identity, Cantor seemed to be doing little more than opportunistically tacking between factions within the house.”

We were watching sailboats racing today on San Francisco Bay.  They tack a lot in order to get into position, to use the wind, to go around buoys and for other maneuvers.  Tacking or “coming about” is used to turn the boat by heading into the wind and turning the rudder.