26 May 2009

Prolonged Detention is not just for schoolkids anymore

Rachel Maddow, here. Preventive Incarceration? I am 100% sure that, if everyone is locked up, crime will decrease.

Brad Evans

Zipf's Law

Here is a discussion of Zipf's Law, by the mathematician Steve Strogatz.

Zipf's Law is similar to Pareto's Law, the 80:20 Law.

Brad Evans

Politician at the trough. Oink oink

Politicians have a belief that they have entitlements, and are shocked when anyone questions them, or points out this (irrational?) belief.

Now, this, (from Newmark's Door):

"Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson paid only $68 in property taxes this year because city records say her well-kept, brick Tudor-style home doesn't exist. Although the home has occupied its west-side plot since 1926, city records have classified the parcel as an empty lot for the past decade."

Go to freep.com for the full story.

Brad Evans

Greed and C-levels

Over at footnoted, we find that:

"Yahoo (YHOO) put out this 8K that noted that outgoing CFO Blake Jorgensen would get $1.8 million in severance. What’s odd here is that while Jorgensen’s planned departure was announced back in February and while the 8-K had some details of the payments, the actual separation agreement was MIA."


"former BlackRock (BLK) and Lehman executive Ralph Schlosstein would be taking over as president and CEO from Roger C. Altman. Left out of the press release and all of the coverage that I saw (including this WSJ article) was the $6.1 million signing bonus that Schlosstein will get under the employment agreement filed with the 8-K."


"At Hampton Roads Bankshares (HMPR), a company we footnoted back in January for its taxpayer-financed signing bonuses (one of the recipients — D. Ben Berry — took off almost as soon as the check cleared), there was this agreement for outgoing CEO Jack Gibson. Among his goodies is a $1.3 million payment for consulting and continued reimbursement for his membership at the Greenbrier Country Club."

Footnoted needs financial support. Go to their website to contribute.

Brad Evans

Contemporary Plane Travel

Bing's story as told by Bing:


My wife and I were in the exit row of the 5:59 JetBlue flight out of JFK to San Francisco. Because I love her, I took the middle seat and she had the aisle. The flight was on time. Everything was moving very smoothly. The general air of JetBlue jolly, democratic collegiality prevailed. All our bags were neatly stowed. I had placed my wife’s wheely bag, which is perfectly sized to go into the overhead compartment wheels first, and my backpack, which contained my beloved MacBook, up there, and neatly inserted her folded topcoat and my favorite sport jacket on top of our stuff.

As always, there is always one butthead who appears just as the doors are closing and requires immediate assistance for seating and stowage. Indeed, here he came, and with him, following close by, a very neat, very tidy, very trim gate agent with the passenger’s wheely bag in tow. The late arrival went back to his seat in the rear of the plane. The flight attendant began to look for an overhead compartment to put his bag. He selected ours, which was already rather full not only with our possessions but those of several others. The flight attendant opened the compartment door and immedately began violently jamming the new bag into a space that he perceived existed somewhere in the interstitial zone between everybody’s luggage.

“Excuse me,” I said to him, as he repeatedly mashed the bag into the imaginary space, “are you squashing our coats up there?”

“It is company policy that rolling bags take precedence,” he snapped. “You can put your coats on the floor.” I thought this was rather severe. If I had wanted to put my coat on the floor I would have already done so. Also, I have a thing about officious people with a tiny bit of power being mean to me. Call it an occupational hazard.

“Also,” I said as he banged and slammed the new bag into our stuff, “I have a computer up there, so please be gentle.” By now he had taken our coats out and tossed them onto our laps. Then he removed my wife’s wheely bag, which was superbly positioned, in order to fit in his load. That done, he once again began jamming and cramming my wife’s bag into the space that now no longer really could accomodate it.

“This doesn’t fit,” he said. At that point he took out my bag and deposited it into my lap. So all our luggage and carry-ons were now out of the position we had established for them. My wife is a patient woman, a fact she has proven time and again by continuing to favor me with her presence.

“I’ve been on a hundred JetBlue flights with that bag,” she said calmly, “and it fits perfectly if you put it in wheels first.” He was now violently mashing it handle first into the spot. At that point, I believe he bumped my wife. She says no, because she is a non-violent type and likes to avoid confrontation, but I’m pretty sure I saw her leap a bit out of her seat and say, “Oh!”

Several things then happend simultaneously. She took out a little notebook and pen — as the increasingly desperate re-loading of the compartment continued — and I leaned forward in my seat in order to see his name badge. She then wrote down his name in block letters: PATRICK. And he, having finally completed his task, looked down and saw her do it.

“May I see your boarding pass, please?” he said, and it wasn’t a request.

“Of course,” said my wife. I wondered if she still had it. Sometimes we all toss our passes once we’re on the plane. She hunted about for it. For a while it looked like she was going to have to get her bag down again, but then yes, there it was, in her purse on her lap. “May I ask why you want to see my boarding pass?” she mildly inquired.

“Well!” said PATRICK, “you are writing down MY name and I would like to see the name of the person who is writing down MY name.” He then regarded the boarding pass closely and I thought rather ominously. He then reluctantly handed it back, and then went up to the cockpit, where he gave us the evil eye until the doors of the plane were closing, at which point he left. At some point, I got up and put my bag and our jackets back in the place that was left for them."

1) Airline customer service is an oxymoron in today's travel environment.

2) I thought I was the only one to run into Patricks.

Brad Evans

Financial meltdown, could it happen again?

Yes, says J Plender of the Financial Times:

"Consider, first, the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives markets, the opaque multi-trillion-dollar Sargasso Sea where so much systemic risk resides. This is a huge source of profit to the biggest banks, and an equally huge source of loss to the taxpayer when toxic derivatives blow a hole in balance sheets, as at Lehman Brothers and AIG."

So, yes, it could happen again. Risky securities attract bankers the way shit attracts flies.

Advanta closing credit cards

Advanta says this:

"Dear Customer,

Your Advanta Business Card account is funded by an independent trust which owns the balances you owe on your account and provides funding for new transactions. We expect the trust to stop funding activity on our accounts. The trust also restricts our flexibility to fund activity on your account. Unfortunately, as a result, effective May 30th all Advanta Business Credit Card accounts, including your account, will be closed.

This means that you will not be able to use your card or account for new transactions, including purchases, checks and balance transfers beginning on May 30th. We understand that you may have written checks on your account before May 30th and we will make every effort to honor those checks that are presented to us for payment by June 3rd. If you use your Advanta card to make automatic recurring bill payments, you will need to make alternative arrangements for those payments promptly.

It is important to understand that you are not required to pay your entire balance at this time. You may continue to pay down your account balance over time, as allowed under your Advanta Business Card Agreement.

You will not lose the rewards that you have earned. If you participate in a Cash Back program, you will receive a check for the amount of any accrued rewards more than $1.00 as long as you make the required minimum payments and your account remains in good standing. If you participate in a Business Rewards program, you will have at least 60 days to redeem your points as long as you make the required minimum payments and your account remains in good standing.

We deeply regret the impact this action will have on your business and very much wish it was not necessary.

We are committed to assist you through this process. Additional information will be available at www.advanta.com/notice. If you have any other questions or concerns, or if we can assist you in any other way, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Center. You can email us your questions 24 hours a day at www.advanta.com/secure or call us toll free at (800) 705-7255, Monday - Friday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and Saturday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time.


Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart, said:

"I’ve worked 30 years now in management roles, and a number of times I’ve seen a new C.E.O. come in, and the first act is typically to get the leadership team to an off-site. And you get a consultant - because you can’t do it without a consultant - and the consultant then helps the team design a vision. And then you’ve got all these words, and several thousand dollars and a couple of days of golf later, you go back to the company to actually try to communicate that vision throughout the organization. So you hire another consultant to do that. It shouldn’t be like that."

This could be a whole new subject for Dilbert, because that's the way it is.

Easy green gardening

This article says to pick plants that require little water. A better idea would be to pick plants that could survive on urine.

20 March 2009


Wspr creates a short URL for your email address. It hides your email address and prevents spam, etc.

Brad Evans

Jaguars are dependable

In the past, Jaguars were dependably independable. Now they are among the most dependable autos around.

Brad Evans

Deportivo la Corunya

Depor has a new shirt sponsor. Fadesa, the real estate company, was the shirt sponsor but went bust. Now Estrella Galicia, a beer company, is the shirt sponsor for Depor, which is a Galician team. Rumor is that the sponsorship is worth 2 million euros for each of 2 years.

Brad Evans

03 March 2009

Shirt Sponsorship Fees Go Down

Shirt Sponsorship Fees Go Down.

24 February 2009

Celtic green in the black

Celtic reports a profit for the first half of the fiscal year. Also, bank debt has been paid down.

Brad Evans

11 February 2009

Valencia kit

Valencia has a kit deal with Kappa worth 5.5 million euros over 3 years.

Brad Evans

07 January 2009

Bibliography with BibMe


Brad Evans

06 January 2009

DIY Make your own SAD

light box here.

Brad Evans

05 January 2009

For vacation ideas....


Brad Evans

Some articles...

Henderson refers to classic Arrow article here.

Tom Davenport article here.

McKinsey interview with Rumelt here.

Brad Evans

02 January 2009

Trade in or out of cell phone contracts


Brad Evans

Home body fat test


Brad Evans

Bright young things

in Economics, by the Economist.

Brad Evans

Mankiw & Taylor Econ

student section here.

Brad Evans

Principal-Agent Problem

in Wikipedia.

Brad Evans

Book recommendations

from The Essential Man.

Brad Evans

Errors by famous economists?

Tyler Cowen's list is here.

Brad Evans

01 January 2009

Best business books 2008

here and here.

Brad Evans