No, I don't mean the incredibly and annoyingly stupid young girls on America's Next Top Model, which I still cannot believe gets airtime in my house. And I'm not talking about the crew of perky spokesmodels on the new Fox Business Channel. Though I must say, Neil Cavuto really seems to have calmed down since I last watched him several years ago.
But after mentioning the dumb girls, I feel compelled to give a shout out to a few of the up and coming smarty pants tv people who I would, frankly, also watch even if the sound were off.
Taking my role as tv viewer very seriously, a big part of my responsibility is to provide feedback via this blog. Not just because moving from the couch to my desk chair constitutes my daily workout. But because it is important to help maintain the illusion of true public discourse in our democracy/republic/oligarchical sham or whatever it is we live in these days.
So, without further sarcasm:
Second runner up is . . . Erin Burnett, an alum of Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg (where all great minds gather), Erin is ratings gold, and on two tv shows every day, CNBC's Squawk On The Street and Street Signs. She's super-smart and Chris Matthews is not-so-secretly in love with her. And who can really blame him?
Here's a clip showing Erin calling W a monkey, which is why we love her her.
First Runner-up is . . . Becky Quick, also of CNBC. Becky, a Wall Street Journal alum, has a serious demeanor and a tenor delivery that commands attention and allows her to hold her own against her overbearing and loud male colleagues on Squawk Box, without showing much effort. No clip of Becky here. But she does have a fanclub.
And our Grand Prize Winner and Miss Worldview Brainy Chick for April 2008 is:
Mika has worked her way up through the journalism pipeline and projects an air of seriousness and toughness that makes her number one in my book. It's rather difficult to find photos of her. And, trivia, her Dad was some sort of Doctor Strangelove type for Jimmy Carter.
Here is a clip showing her taking what I would say is a heroic and much needed stand for journalism. You really need to watch it. It's great.
Well, that was fun. But that's not what we are really about today. I'm here to complain about the news. Again. It's what I do.
I keep hearing all about the catastrophic events that might have happened if Bear Sterns went into Chapter 11. While I more or less believe this, I'm still curious. What exactly would have happened? Someone must have a model of what would have happened. That's what all of you finance guys do, right? I started a small investment company a few years ago and all I heard was, "model this" and "model that." "Let's see your model." Well, I didn't have a model. So I had to learn how to "build" models and forecasts. They like to say they are "building" them, even thought "typing" them would be more accurate. It's just another ridiculous affectation for finance people to make their work sound more complicated than it is.
I learned to use the SWAG method of forecasting and modeling. That's an MBA term that stands for Silly Wild Ass Guess. It actually works.
So what would have happened if Bear went into bankruptcy? Well, the general answer is that panic would envelope "Wall Street", even though most of the hedge funds are in midtown or out in Connecticut, and investors would clamor to liquidate their positions and go to cash. The over-leveraged and under-capitalized companies would have been unable to pay, and be forced to file bankruptcy.
Well, OK. But which ones? How would it all go down? I'd be interested in seeing how it might have played out. Wouldn't someone buy them? My bet is that someone has already figured this out all of this. So, why don't we get him or her on the tv. This would help us get to answer the more important queston, "So what?" I guess we'll have to wait for Stone Phillips or Diane Sawyer to come up with something.
This is kind of important, I think, because that raionale I'm hearing today seems to be internally inconsistant. On the one hand, allowing Bear to fail would have led to a complete loss of confidence in our financial markets, causing them to stop functioning. OK, let's accept that premise. But then we are assured that this Bear type deal was strictly a one time thing, because it was an emergency. Well, if it was a one time thing, how does that restore market confidence? Does that mean the next bank will be allowed to fail? That doesn't inpsire much confidence in me. I need more info about why the Bear situation was so unique and special.
Same issue with our pending withdrawal from Iraq. We keep hearing all of this nonsense about it taking 18 months. Nonsense it is. Let's see a logistical model. We don't need to bring home all of our worn out equipment, and it's only 150,000 troops. That's not that many to move. I'd like to see a draft logistical plan. Get Wesley Clark to draft one up for tv. He's not busy. Let's see what he can come up with. It will help his aspirations for the SecDef appointment.
Here' a suggested start for the model, start at the extremes and work your way in. The bookends are 1) everybody stays where they are for 100 years (aka the "Crazy Old Man McCain Option"); and 2) the troops all get in their humvees and drive to Israel in time for Shabbat this evening (aka the "Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves And Get The Fuck Out Of Here Option.") A number of practical approaches lie somewhere in between.
This kind of detail would be more interesting that five consecutive news shows covering the same stories with the same film clips and the same commentary. Come on newsies! Step it up! This kind of junk is why journalism is considered a gut major in school. You can do better.