All posts by Byron Watson

About Byron Watson

Shout Bits is written by Byron S. Watson, CFA, of Denver, CO. His background is pretty unusual - After earning a BSEE and MBA in finance, he worked as a spreadsheet jockey for a few industries. Later he became an economist / expert witness for a major corporation. He started his own homebuilding business just in time for the bubble collapse. He is a Realtor, licensed Contractor, private pilot, and even has EPA lead paint renovation status. If you need a financial / investment analyst to build a ridiculously complex model, or you need real estate help in the Denver area, send him a message. Seriously, why not give your business to someone who shares your values?

Mary Landrieu – Canary In A Coal Mine

Sen. Mary Landrieu has problems. Years of Reid/Pelosi/Obama far-left politics have come home to roost in her center-right Louisiana. Obamacare, regulation, and an anti-energy dictatorship have turned many LA voters against their Democrat tradition. Barring a masterful performance on her part, or an equally pitiful performance by the GOP (recall Todd Akin), Landrieu will lose November’s race. Landrieu comes from Louisiana political royalty, but that dynasty is old-school Southern Democrat. Since the Senator has nothing to lose, her fellow Dems are using her for scientific purposes in their effort to hold the Senate.

While Landrieu has voted with Obama about 96% of the time, when Sen. Max Baucus retired to avoid the ignominy of being forced out of office, she tacked right. Baucus, off to China, gave his Finance Committee Chairmanship to Sen. Wyden, who opened his Energy Chairmanship to Landrieu.

Wyden is too far left to simply toe the Democrat line. He is Left by Oregon standards, and distances himself from Obama – to the left. This is the politician Democrats have until recently placed in charge of energy policy in the Senate – a global warming true believer. Landrieu comes from an oil and gas state that favors exploration, despite the BP spill. Landrieu signaled her new found interest in energy by endorsing the Keystone XL project just before the Baucus switch.

True, Senate chairmanships are largely based on seniority, but Landrieu could have received another job. After eight years of hard-left anti energy policy from the Democrats, they turned 180 degrees in the form of a LA Senator who pre-signaled her distance from Obama.

Democrats want to know if throwing Obama under their bus will save any votes from people disaffected by Obamacare and his energy policies. If Landrieu can make her campaign competitive by pretending she never voted for Obamacare and was always in favor of more drilling and pipelines, expect more of the same. No doubt Obama would dump his Hollywood leftie friends and approve Keystone XL if he thought it would save the Senate.

The wheels of Democrat political thought are on display here. If Obama approves Keystone XL, then Democrats believe the Landrieu strategy is operative and want to give her more room to maneuver away from the Left. If Obama cans Keystone XL again, Democrats have decided her seat and many like it are a lost cause and that Hollywood money is of more long-term worth. Like coal miners looking at a canary to see if they are in danger, Democrats have made Sen. Landrieu an existential test case.

Smart-Gay vs. Dumb-Gay

Dictators seem to have an issue with gays. A perspicacious lot, dictators fight some sort of gay threat invisible to regular people. While Christians and traditionalists might decry gay acts, leftist dictators go straight to hating and oppressing gay people. From Nazi Germany to today’s Iran, this tiny and largely invisible minority has had a lot of trouble at the hands of dictators. Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is the latest windmill tilter with his laughable oppression talk. After all, when Islamic terrorists are blowing up Sochi, why not oppress the gays?

Enter the Village People. Some self-appointed leaders of the gay movement – whatever that is – want former front man Victor Willis to use his YMCA song as a protest against Putin’s weirdness. After all, YMCA is an anthem to anonymous gay sex, so the song would be a dog whistle to those who place Putin’s gay oppression on the same level as his trampling of an entire nation’s rights.

In addition to a talent for campy disco, Willis also seems to have a brain for politics and self-preservation. He declined to present his song as a protest, implausibly claiming the song is not really about casual gay sex. In fact, Willis knows that YMCA and the Village People brand is extremely valuable. Every sports event, wedding, and movie that exploits YMCA’s catchy groove puts a few dollars in the royalty pot. After Gary Glitter was exposed as a vicious pedophile, the sports anthem playlist got a little thin.

Perhaps Willis practices self-interest, or perhaps he likes that his songs represent good times as much as gay sex. Either way, he made the smart and classy choice by not poking a hornet’s nest. Smart-gay here.

Enter Chris Kluwe, who is straight by the way. This week, Kluwe dumped on his former employers at the Vikings, claiming his termination was due to his support for gay marriage. He showed how his coach asked him to tone his politics down, presumably to focus on things like punting. The Vikings are in the business of winning games – in 2013 losing. If Tim Tebow’s distraction from the field was intolerable, a gay marriage hammering punter should have taken the advice to shut-up.

The Vikings claim Kluwe was fired because of his inadequate play, which may be the case considering the importance of punters. Most people watch football for entertainment, not to be reminded of divisive politics, which makes Kluwe dumb-gay. The left’s penchant for joyless negativity might fly on MSNBC with its cry-baby pundits, but the NFL is a no-excuses league that likes to keep its brand clean.

Overturning millennia of social tradition takes brains and tact, not a whiny blow-hard whose only talent is vindictive sniping. Bob Costas, that means you too. Those who want to advance the gay agenda – if there even is one – should consult Mr. Willis.

When Heroes Disappoint

Among the steadily dwindling justifications for paying a cable bill remains Fox News’s Journal Editorial Report. The weekly half hour commentary features the brightest political minds. With faces and personalities meant for print, the brain power of this bunch carries the show. Lead by Paul Gigot, but with a brain after-burner in Kim Strassel, this is a political enthusiast’s best TV program. With such high regard, last week’s program was the let-down of the year.

Dan Henninger starts with a misunderstanding of the Lance Armstrong affair. Henninger opined that Armstrong’s cheating was a “miss” of note for 2013. Maybe he did not have the air time to explain, but Armstrong’s cheating was so commonplace, nobody can cite a racer of any prestige who did not also cheat. Indeed, every rider who came in second to Armstrong in his Tours De France wins was also a doper, so the titles have been left vacant. Armstrong’s cheating was more common than not among top cyclists, so the real miss is to the system. In a Road to Serfdom parallel, the system was so corrupt that the rise of an Armstrong was inevitable; indeed, he now claims that the cycling authorities colluded in his doping. Armstrong’s real crimes were his ruining peers and friends with slander in order to keep his cheating empire alive. Such ruthless cruelty is bread by a system without ethics.

The Wall Street Journal is not a sports rag, so Henninger’s fumble (get it?) is of no consequence. Rather, their ringleader, Gigot, revealed that his Potomac tenure had finally softened his mind. Gigot’s “miss” of the year was the GOP-lead partial government shutdown. Citing the harm it did to the GOP brand, he slammed the poor strategy behind the effort.

Well, no. First, the shutdown did not affect any of the necessary functions of government. All of government’s big and visible programs remained in force – the military, Social Security, and Medicare. Hardly anybody outside of Washington would have known the government was shut down, which is probably why Pres. Obama unnecessarily barricaded memorials and shuttered web sites. Statists of all parties predicted a recession and rising unemployment, but nothing much happened at all. Indeed the sequester and shutdown coincided with a slight improvement in the economy’s recovery. The Washington bubble is so insular, no real person even noticed that the EPA was on vacation.

True, GOP generic polling was taking a hit during the shutdown. However, chasing polls is what lead the party to nominate a buffoon like Sen. McCain or a damp rag like Gov. Romney. The pollsters said Gov. Reagan could never beat Pres. Carter as well. Chasing polls is chasing the lowest common denominator, and that game is already mastered by the Dems who are enabled by the Old Media.

How sad that Gigot fell into the swamp-think of populism vs. leadership. No wonder Stephen Moore was not on to rebut Gigot’s premise. Moore, an anti-Keynesian might have argued that the shutdown improved the economy and was a service to the nation. He might have pointed out that all the doomsday rhetoric surrounding the shutdown remains unsubstantiated.

Does Gigot think the latest capitulation on the sequester is also good politics? When the GOP look like Dems, as they did under Pres. Bush, the GOP gets rolled. The editorial media’s job is to explain issues and frame them in the context of principle. Gigot failed in this duty with his continued bashing of those who consider Washington as an enemy of liberty and prosperity. You are forgiven, Mr. Gigot, but please get with the program.