Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The past several days have been a week of realizations for me. Some profound, and some borderline meaningless. But I thought I would take a break from poker again today and write about what's been swirling around in my head lately.

First things first: the Jets suck. It's official. It's over, they just plain suck. If you're a Jets fan, I'm sorry for you. But if you couldn't see how much that was the Exact Same Schtunk Brett Favre on Monday night, then you'll never see it. He threw interceptions like the government bails out financial companies -- blindly and plentifully. And I would love to at least be able to say that he was under pressure all night, but that simply isn't the case. That's what was so quinessentially Favre about his performance -- he throws picks when he's not under too much pressure. He just can't throw the ball with consistent accuracy anymore. He throws every pass about 150 miles an hour, the majority of them off the mark, and in multiple cases on Monday, smack into double or triple coverage with basically no chance of being caught (by his team, anyways), and quite often directly to the other team with none of his receivers even around. They might have started off 2-0 or whatever, but this team is simply not good. Start facing it now. And I'm not some hater -- I actually enjoy the Jets, and being a Philly guy they are easily the only likeable football team in this city, and over his career I've been a huge Favre fan as well. But let's face facts -- the guy has been an interception machine for a good three or four seasons now. He should not have come back, Green Bay was right to want to get him out of town at this point, and he stizzinks. Some of those throws last night were so awful, it's enough to make you wonder if he was accepting a bribe to throw the game. But then, sadly, you realize that he would never be that obvious if he were throwing the game. No, unfortunately for Brett, he just sucks at this point in his career. It pains me to say it, but it's the inescapable truth.

OK, what else. Well, while we're on the topic of sports and of Favre and the Jets showing their true colors last night, the baseball race is heating up and we're seeing the Mets once again show their true colors as well in September. Last year they lost what? A 7 game lead with 17 to play in September? Well just about two weeks ago, we were already about a week in September and the Mets once again found themselves with a comfortable 3.5 game lead over the flagging Phillies in the NL East, with probably no more than 17 games left again in the season. Now fast forward two weeks, and the Mets find themselves 2.5 games back of the Phils -- 2 back in the loss column -- with 6 games left to play (5 for the Phillies). The Mets have lost 6 of their last 9 games -- including 5 out of 8 to the Braves and Nationals who are a combined 50.5 games out of first -- and now sit just one game ahead of the fading Brewers for the wildcard lead. This team has already done what it can to blow another comfortable September lead in the division, one year after the most historic September choke in MLB history, and like with Brett Favre above, it gives a great insight into the character of this team right now. They are chokers, and they do not have what it takes to win. Every single player is stepping down here in September, for the second year in a row. David Wright? Choker. Carlos Beltran? Choker. Pedro Martinez? Huge choker. Jose Reyes? Chok -- no wait. He just plain sucks. Name your favorite Mets bullpen pitcher? All fantastic chokers. Obviously I would fire the shit out of Jerry Manuel if this team fails to make the playoffs, and frankly I would fire him anyways given this year's final-month collapse and bring in someone fiery who won't allow this to happen again. And when is someone finally going to get rid of Omar Menaya, huh? Let's face it -- he has not delivered and in fact consistently seems to make poor personnel decisions with guys like Pedro and Beltran who everybody else but him seems to recognize for the overpaid, under-performing players that they are. You keep shitty management around for long enough, and your team starts playing shitty, year in and year out. Believe me, I know -- I'm from Philly.

Speaking of which, what a time to be a Philadelphia sports fan. The Eagles look legit, with perhaps the greatest defense in the NFL this year, and the Phillies are getting close to mathematically locking up a playoff berth for the second year in a row. If they win the NL East again this year -- which is not set in stone by a long shot yet, but with 5 games to play and a 2 game lead in the loss column, and with all home games left, two against the Braves and three against the last-place Nats, things are looking good -- but if they do win the East it will be the first time since I grew up that the Phils win the division back to back. I know they won several consecutive NL East crowns in the late 70s, but since then it's been fits and starts at best for the world's losingest professional sports franchise. But this is a good little team here, with great balance between a decent starting pitching corps and a great bullpen on the one side, and a very solid, if a bit inconsistent, lineup that includes the greatest home run and RBI guy in the game today and the last two years' league MVPs.

And getting back to the Eagles for a minute, it's a shame that Dallas looks to be the early favorite to walk to the Superbowl, because the Eagles are looking strong. They are also playing a bit inconsistent so far, with two great offensive performances until getting more or less shut down by Pittsburgh at home this past Sunday, and two great defensive performances as well, other than last Monday night's defensive debacle in Dallas. And now with McNabb starting his injuries early with last week's abdomen issue that saw him miss a few series, and with Westbrook obviously an injury waiting to happen every single year and now weighing in with the sprained (?) ankle that caused him to miss most of this week's game as well, you have to figure the Eagles for second-best in the division, if not third. Remember, we play in the NFC East, which has quite literally been the best division in football for a good two decades straight now, and once again is clearly this year, with the 3-0 Cowboys, 3-0 Superbowl champion Giants, 2-1 Eagles and the upstart 2-1 Redkins. Amazingly, this season early indications are that the three best teams in the entire NFC are all in the NFC East, with teams like Arizona and San Francisco (!!) leading the West, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Atlanta (!!) leading the South, and with the NFC North, as always, not even worth mentioning. So the Eagles have their work cut out for them this year with 6 games against the 'Boys, Giants and Redskins, although our out-of-conference schedule this year is decidedly weak which is good given the toughness of those games coming up against the division later in the year.

One other realization I have come to over the past few days while I've watched this truly historic time in the stock market is that I am very close to deciding to get out there and do what I can to vote out of office anybody who votes in favor of this ridiculous trillion-dollar "bailout" package for Wall Street. Because that's exactly what it is -- it's for Wall Street. Sure, Hank Paulson and George Bush can say it's for taxpayers, for investors, whatever, but that's all a steaming pile of crap. It's for Wall Street, for the bankers and the traders and the CEOs who selfishly and without foresight hawked any kind of mortgage they could to any kind of borrower, often without any look at that borrower's actual ability or likelihood of repaying the debt, and then packaged up all those mortgages into securities and sold those to even more naive clients for even more money. And I can live with that btw, I really can, because we live in America, a free market with a free market, capitalistic economy where nobody forces the banks to offer these products, and nobody forces the customers to come along and buy them and trade them. But what I cannot live with is these same bankers and traders, who didn't share a dime of the wealth that these ridiculous securitizations of mortgages brought them over the past seven or eight years or so, who went out and bought huge homes in Hamptons, drove up apartment prices in Manhattan to the stratospheric levels they are at today, helped prop up the recockulous price of private schools in the city to today's impressive $33,000 a year for a 4-year-old to get a decent education, etc. etc. etc. These guys consumed, consumed and consumed some more with all that wealth they made over the past several years hawking these absurd mortgages products to the world, but now when it has all turned around because the real estate prices underlying all these securitized oblgiations have fallen just 15% or so from their highs, now we taxpayers have to pay a trillion dollars to buy these bad loans off these bankers' books? That's the part where you've lost me.

The stock market pundits are largely right that, without this silly bailout business as announced late last week and soon to be finalized by Congress, the Dow would have probably dropped another 2500 points from where it was early last week. I don't think there's any doubt about that. But you know what? Just like I said a week or two ago when Lehman Brothers and AIG were teetering on the edge, that 25% drop would have been the right thing to happen. Sure, I am heavily invested in the stock market, and in the short-term that would have crushed my portfolio value. As a relatively young man with a young family and some excess fundage, I invest primarily in an aggressive but diversified portfolio of equities and some other securities. But here I am, living proof of someone who actually believes in free market forces, and who actually believes in capitalism through and through. If circumstances as they existed a week ago lead people to want to sell the market down 25% from current levels, because it becomes obvious that much of the gains of the past several years were illusory and are all now coming back to roost, then so be it. Because I truly believe in capitalism and the free market, I am willing to take my medicine and lose 25% of my investment holdings in the short-term in order to get the market back to where it actually belongs given the current state of things.

But that right there is the rub. The current administration -- and once again, that includes the chimp in the white house in addition to the baboons in Congress -- is not willing to let the market be where it belongs right now. They stepped in once with Bear Stearns, two more times with Fannie and Freddie, once again in forcing the buyout of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America, and yet again with a massive $85 billion bridge loan to keep AIG afloat. And now here they are again with a trillion dollar package to form a fund to buy all the shitty mortgages from the banks. And don't worry, the Democrats in Congress are now insisting that they also be able to buy credit card debts and car loans too! These clowns will do anything to control the markets, to keep them artificially and externally propped up far above the levels everyone and their mother knows they would drop to immediately if this latest government bailout package were to suddenly disappear. They fear what would happen if free market forces allowed stocks to fall until they reached the level where the buyers once again equalled the sellers. They fear the effect on the market, they fear the effect on personal wealth, and they fear the effect on the economy at large. These fuckheads actually fear letting the free markets work to create their own equilibrium.

We as a society have a name for people who believe in capitalism only when the economy and the stock market are doing well, but who favor taking control of the economy and the market when things turn south. People who say they believe in the free market as long as it is working for them, but when the inevitable slowdown threatens, they manipulate the market, printing money to throw at private companies to prevent them from further hurting the economy as it grapples with its natural forces that always inexorably lead to contraction and expansion, contraction and expansion. You know what we call those people? Communists. Plain and simple.

I have no problem with people who support Communism. I really don't, I mean that. It's one option, and there have been literally billions of people over time who have grown up and lived their entire lives under Communist regimes. But unlike many of those people, I don't believe in Communism. I prefer true capitalism, and because I am a true capitalist -- not a bullshit one like our current government -- I put my money where my mouth is. As much pain as it will cause in the short-term, I am absolutely willing to watch my portfolio lose 25% of its value this month, when it turns out that the 40% gains over the past five years were all bullshit based on assumptions which have now proven to be utterly and completely false. What can I say? I'm a true free market guy, right down to my core. That's what capitalism is supposed to be all about when it comes right down to it. Obviously, our government needs more people who understand what true capitalism is.

So watch out, you pig-headed politicians. I'm going to look and see which one of you assheads votes for this trillion-dollar subsidy to the financial institutions who greedily abused unknowing consumers and naively took on massive risks all hinging on the notion that real estate prices woud literally never decline again. And if you vote for this plan, I'm going to be out there, lurking, working in my own ways to get you voted out on your fat ass this November. And next November, and every November after that. I'll give up 25% of my money if that's what the free market economy says I have to do. But being forced by you to pay it out as taxes to save the rich bastards who ran up 8-digit bank accounts over the past seven years by being greedy and having no foresight at all? Nope. I live in America because here we're not supposed to do that. Here the free market is supposed to reign.

It is just amazing and embarrassing how quickly so many people in this country are willing to completely trash our basic fucking economic precepts just because a little number at the bottom of their portfolio statement starts dropping from the obviously over-inflated levels it has been at for the past few years.

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Blogger AJG said...

Hello Hoy, I want to send you an excel file on "M". Just a heads up.



9:00 PM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Well written Hoy.

9:49 PM  
Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

Man, last year was exciting to be a Phillies fan, we made the post-season for the first time since '93. This year, not only will we win the East, but we have a legitimate shot to make the Series! I mean think about the teams who would make it in the NL if the playoffs started today: Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers, and Mets for the wild card. Im pretty sure we have a winning record this year against everyone of those teams cept maybe the Cubs. 08 could be the Phillies year! Brad Lidge has now supplanted Mitch Williams as my favorite Philly pitcher ;)

Since you saw the game last night, what was your response to their question about most surprising undefeated team? I think the Ravens should be thrown out since they are only 2-0 thus far, but between Buffalo, Tennessee and Denver who would you pick? Buffalo I think is the sexy pick because of the Pats and Jets in the division but, what about the Titans? I mean they are in the same division as the Colts & Jaguars (both playoff favorites)and who in the world thought either of those teams would be 1-2? What if Indy hadnt come back in Minnesota? Titans are my pick for most surprising this year so far

As for the buyout....unreal. I thought the gov't was gonna take a stand and just say no after Lehmen, but they continue to surprise (not in the good way) at how silly they are for bailing the rich and greedy out. Again I say, why aren't we going after those who profited off the failings of others by suing them to recoup those huge bonuses they make every year? I swear if they even mention severance pay again someone is getting a foot i nthe tookas.
Although I will say this expierience has made me read more about the crash of '29. Feels like some of the same things that happened in '29 are happening again.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

Waffles complimenting Hoy?

11:00 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

LoL Fuel.
Must be Blinders logging in to Waffles' account or something.

11:02 PM  
Blogger RaisingCayne said...

Amen Hoy. These bailouts make me sick

11:33 PM  
Blogger Riggstad said...

I try to make jokes about it, but it isn't funny in the least.

It's amazing to me how a lot of folk agree with it. They don't undersand the enormity of the issues it creates. The precedent.

One dude told me, "what else are they going to do? The whole economy is threatened with banks that big going bankrupt. They are doing it for the people"

Our system of government has no security in place. There are no fail safes. For that matter, there are no sides. There are no democrats and no republicans. There is the haves, and the have nots.

Everything else is just pure entertainment. What the American people don't know, is what makes them the American people.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Mundo said...

Carlos Beltran is not a choker.

Beltran, career numbers (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS):
Bases Empty: .280/.352/.479/.807
Runners On: .300/.374/.533/.907
RISP .304/.383/.533/.916
RISP, 2 outs: .264/.364/.458/.822
Playoffs: .366/.485/.817/1.302
(RISP = "Runners in Scoring Position")

He performs better with runners on base, in scoring position, and in scoring position with 2 outs than with runners on. His playoff numbers are out of this world. In the playoffs with the 'Stros back in 2004, he homered in 5 straight games, which is a playoff record. He tied Bonds for the most homers in a single postseason, with 8.

How is this guy a choker again? Oh, maybe he's talking about THIS season, as opposed to Beltran's continued excellence in "clutch" situations.

Carlos Beltran, August 2008: .303/.365/.541/.906

Hmm... Nope, that's pretty outstanding also. But you notice I've left out September 2008 from the discussion, when "performance matters most."

Carlos Beltran, September 2008: .329/.414/.658/1.072

Shit. That's even *better* than in August!

10:16 PM  
Blogger Mundo said...

Oh, also - I'm 100% with you regarding our current bailout-friendly administration and Congress.

Even though I clearly took exception to your Beltran comment, I liked the blog entry as a whole! Sorry I stopped reading before I got to the end.

2:14 AM  

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