Who Said It? Birthday Abe or Barack?

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Happy birthday, Abe. (Image: http://www.biography.com)

The always interesting gents over at PowerLine have reminded us, in a typically nice post, that today is the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth (born 2/12/1809). To mark the occasion we thought it would be interesting to have a quick quiz reminiscent of our Brian Williams vs. Ron Burgundy test. We’ll pit the eloquent and honest Abe against Barack Obama, who is probably the Pablo Picasso of hot-air artistry. So without further ado, who said it?

  1. No, no. I have been practicing…I bowled a 129. It’s like — it was like Special Olympics, or something. 
  2. I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.
  3. I’ve now been in 57 states — I think one left to go.
  4. It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
  5. It’s very rare that I come to an event where I’m like the fifth- or sixth-most interesting person.
  6. I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions
  7. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though.
  8. He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas better than any man I ever met.
  9. Why can’t I just eat my waffle?
  10. No matter how much cats fight, there always seems to be plenty of kittens.
  11. If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?
  12. …answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.

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White House Puts Lipstick on Pig

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Obama: This thing is full of hot air and so am I.  (Photo: http://www.breitbart.com)

Yesterday our counterfeit Commander-in-Chief made his first visit to a mosque on US soil. Alluding to his more extreme critics’ accusations that he is actually a Muslim, Obama told his audience:

By the way, Thomas Jefferson’s opponents tried to stir things up by suggesting he was a Muslim — so I was not the first — (applause.)

At various times since getting elected, the current White House resident, when not admiring his reflection in the mirror, has likened himself to Lincoln, Reagan, JFK, LBJ, MLK, and, for all we know, Socrates, Bismarck, da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Moses, Gandhi, Michael Jordan, and Ron Jeremy. By now, these comparisons run laughably hollow, reminding us of the socially-awkward married guy at work who, ogling the outrageously attractive office secretary, boasts to a younger, single colleague, “What’s the matter with you kid? If I weren’t married…fuhgeddaboudit.Continue reading

Third Avenue: The Intersection of Greedy and Stupid

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David Barse, recently fired as CEO of Third Avenue: Those who can’t do, pontificate. (Image: http://www.wsj.com)

Third Avenue Management, an investment manager that runs hedge funds, mutual funds, and other portfolios, is located at 622 Third Avenue in Manhattan, an address that makes sense given the firm’s name. But considering how outrageously stupid we now know these people are, it’s a surprise that Third Avenue isn’t on First, Second or even Lexington Avenue.

On December 9, Third Avenue’s CEO David Barse, who’s since been sacked, announced that, in a possibly illegal move, the firm was closing its Focused Credit Fund (“FCF”) and barring the fund’s investors from cashing out, the latter move a shocker because the ironically abbreviated FCF (a finance-speak acronym for what is clearly lacking here: ‘free cash flow’) is structured as a mutual fund, which by definition allows investors to liquidate their positions on a daily basis. FCF’s assets were transferred out of the mutual fund into a liquidating trust to manage the gradual sale of the remaining rubbish. To explain why they shuttered the fund, Barse ever so graciously issued a letter to the fund’s shareholders, part of which is below:

Investor requests for redemption, however, in addition to the general reduction of liquidity in the fixed income markets, have made it impracticable for FCF going forward to create sufficient cash to pay anticipated redemptions without resorting to sales at prices that would unfairly disadvantage the remaining shareholders…Third Avenue will manage the Liquidating Trust in order to obtain the best overall outcome for the beneficiaries. Third Avenue will not charge any fee for those services.

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Exclusive Glimpse of ‘New’ South China Morning Post Under Alibaba Control

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The South China Morning Post will take its content in a different direction under Alibaba. (Image: http://www.buzzfeed.com)

Last Friday, Alibaba (ticker BABA), the Chinese e-commerce Leviathan with a $200 billion market cap, announced that it was buying the South China Morning Post (“SCMP”), Hong Kong’s biggest English-language newspaper. The 112-year-old broadsheet is popular for its English-language format and the editorial board’s intrepid reputation (or life-threatening stupidity/naiveté) for covering not only political contretemps on mainland China but also the Communist Party’s gobsmackingly disgraceful suppression of human rights, topics from which mainland journalists understandably shy away for fear of being “disappeared.”

Laying it on extra thick, as would any self-respecting grifter, Joe Tsai, Alibaba’s no doubt unironically titled Vice Chairman, reassured SCMP’s readers in a press release: Continue reading

President Obama & the Non Sequitur

The Brits had Richard the Lionheart, and we have Barack the Smug.

Non sequitur, noun, according to Merriam-Webster: a statement that is not connected in a logical or clear way to anything said before it. Usually, upon hearing a non sequitur, you shake your head in stupefaction but then notice that your interlocutor is wearing his trousers inside-out and is completely insane. However, occasionally a presumably preposterous pronouncement makes all the sense in the world when the speaker’s identity and warped Weltanschauung are considered. President Obama, looking as world-weary as ever, provided a nice example yesterday when he actually said the following during a press conference with French President François Hollande, who is daily proving that he is a more serious person than our frivolous President (video above):

Next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the Global Climate Conference. What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be, when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.

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ISIS Pharmaceuticals Swamped with Jihadi Wrong Numbers

A source at ISIS Pharmaceuticals (ticker ISIS) has told Bud Fox News that the company was inundated with phone calls last week from men who mistakenly thought that the company was a US-based offshoot of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, aka ISIS. Company spokesman Stuyvesant Gudgeon explained:

We’ve been swamped. I took several calls myself. These men are convinced that we represent ISIS here in the States. Some had looked through our annual report and concluded that the table showing our drug pipeline was actually a list of chemical weapons that caused the conditions addressed by each drug. One guy called and asked how quickly ATL1102 would cause Muliple Sclerosis and could it be put in the water supply. Another guy asked to speak to our chief financial officer because he needed money- he said a guy at his mosque could get an RPG if the caller could produce enough cash. 

Here is the pipeline table from the company’s 2014 10-K:

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Would-be jihadis mistook these drugs for chemical weapons. (Image: ISIS 10-K, http://www.sec.gov)

These misguided, US-hating Mujahideen manqués aren’t the only ones who have been fooled. Hous Bin Pharteen, Professor of Islamic Studies at Beaver College and author of the soon-to-be-published Allah vs Challa: Islam and the Defeat of Zionism, appeared equally misled when reached for comment by Bud Fox News:  Continue reading

Nap Time for Hillary

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You are entering the Twilight Zone…confusion ahead. (Image: http://www.ryot.com)

On Monday, Judicial Watch released more than 35 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton’s erstwhile top State Dept handmaiden Huma Abedin that reveal the type of Clintonian behavior that no longer shocks, to wit, security breaches and special treatment requests for Clinton friends. You can read all about it here. What is hilarious though, and perhaps more of a concern, is this exchange between Abedin and Clinton minion Monica Hanley:

Abedin: Have you been going over her calls with her? So she knows singh is at 8? [India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh]

Hanley: She was in bed for a nap by the time I heard that she had an 8am call. Will go over with her

Abedin: Very imp to do that. She’s often confused

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Bill Ackman, Hedge Fund Trash Talk, and the Straw Man Fallacy

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In Bill Ackman’s spat with Warren Buffet… (Image: http://www.marketwatch.com)

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…he brought a straw man along for backup.  (Image: http://www.veteranstoday.com)

From the “People in Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones” category comes the laughably Pecksniffian rich man’s row between hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, head of Pershing Square Capital, and Charlie Munger, who has been Warren Buffet’s fidus Achates/gal Friday for years.

It should be noted that Ackman is a self-inflated weirdo who started crying like a 5-year-old denied a toy while addressing Target shareholders back in 2009 during his high-profile and losing proxy battle against the company. In absurd fashion, he later attributed his breakdown to the poignancy of a JFK quotation (“We will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship“) that he used in his own remarks. Apparently, Ackman is so outrageously egotistical that he believed his quest for Target board seats was comparable to JFK’s intention to “assure the survival and success of liberty.”

The windbaggery started earlier this month when Munger hopped on his exceptionally wobbly high horse and called Ackman’s investment in Valeant Pharmaceuticals (ticker VRX), down about 50% this year and recently under fire for jacking up prices on its drugs way beyond industry standards, “deeply immoral.” Continue reading

Amazon Opens “Brick & Mortar” Bookstore, Will Close Internet Operations

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The CD section at the new Amazon bookstore is a bit cramped but has it all. (Image: http://www.casualoptimist.com)

Finally recognizing that the internet is just a fad and will soon go the way of the eight-track tape, Amazon (ticker AMZNopened a “brick & mortar” bookstore in Seattle last Tuesday. Although the company’s official line implies that the store is designed to peddle Amazon products like Kindle, Echo, Fire TV, and Fire Tablet by giving customers a place to try them out, Jezebel Pantzaroff, Professor of Marketing at Northern Indiana Normal School and author of the soon-to-be-published Don’t Name Your Product “Crunky Nude Balls,” had this to say about the surprising move by Jeff Bezos’s loss-producing monstrosity (net loss of $241 million in 2014):

The Fire Phone, cloud computing, delivery by drone, you name it- this company is just a dog’s breakfast of half-baked ideas. It’s like they put a bunch of Philip Dick novels in a blender and just guzzled it down. Amazon Fresh? What the hell are they thinking? Food delivery? I mean, Webvan and HomeGrocer were two of the most spectacular failures of the dot-com bust. And the pilot for Amazon Studio’s new show “Patriot” is about a spy who sings folk songs. C’mon, does he live on the Island of Misfit Toys? Is he friends with the cowboy who rides an ostrich? The jig is up. The company’s operating margin was 1.1% in 2012, 1.0% in 2013, and 0.2% in 2014. So it appears they are going back to the basics. I’ve been told that they will open 1,000 bookstores a year for the next five years and shut down internet operations after the Christmas holidays.

Bodhi Yoho, a tattooed semi-professional gamer who devours comic books, rarely goes outside, and hasn’t read a novel since failing to finish Hunger Games back in 2009, nonetheless works at the new bookstore. He told Bud Fox News that he’s excited to be part of the “new” Amazon: Continue reading