advice from a fake consultant

out-of-the-box thinking about economics, politics, and more... 

Monday, March 10, 2008

On Lazy Days, Or, The Things You See On TV

The brain has been full of thoughts of nuclear war this past week, and as a result we’re taking another “lazy day” before we return to that most challenging topic.

Today we discuss the potential opportunities offered by imposing mandates, a curious advertising opportunity as yet unused, and although I usually don’t do breaking news, it appears today we’ll also be discussing an Emperor who had an opportunity to see a Governor who had no clothes.

I’ve been thinking about mandates lately, what with Hillary Clinton making them an important part of her conversation...and It occurs to me that there are lots of opportunities to expand the idea.

For example, why don’t we use mandates to solve America’s obesity problem?

Now, the regular writer might simply suggest we make being overweight unlawful...but I have a better plan: I think we should mandate that all physicals, from this day forward, be conducted aboard spacecraft.

Spacecraft, you say?

Absolutely. By mandating that all weigh-ins be conducted in a zero-gravity environment, we guarantee that everyone will comply with today’s height and weight guidelines...and once we’ve ended obesity, we will quickly see diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and lots of other ailments heading on a downward trend that will benefit not just the individuals involved, but the taxpayer as well.

Virgin Galactic is already positioning themselves to do in-flight physicals, and considering how much money insurance companies will save as all these other ailments are eradicated, there should be a tremendous interest in the idea as the technology of personal space travel becomes more widespread.

I am constantly watching and listening to something during my day, and over and over lately the Internet matchmaking service has been running ads that feature women who report that despite the fact that they are nice people (at least in their own minds) they are among the million others have been rejected by rival matchmaking service eHarmony...for reasons suspiciously unknown.

If you were eHarmony, how might you respond?

One way might be to agree with every element of the other side’s argument.

“We’ve rejected over a million you won’t have to.”

But all this is the small stuff.

Even as we speak, Elliot Spitzer, the Governor of the State of New York, has just given a press conference in which he did not deny today’s New York Times story detailing “involvement” in a prostitution ring.

The “Emperor’s Club VIP” is alleged by the FBI and IRS to have provided certain personal services (at prices ranging from $1000 to above $5000 per hour) to a variety of high-end clients in numerous cities in the US and Europe...and the story at the moment suggests things are quite serious for Spitzer.

Both the Times and the Associated Press are reporting that Federal investigators captured electronic communications between himself and the Club...and it is being reported that Spitzer may be “client number nine” in the Federal indictment charging the Club with not only being a prostitution and money laundering operation, but also a component of the Gambino crime family.

(It is also reported that the Club’s website offered “investment advice”, and one wonders what sort of advice was offered. Perhaps the investment representative was a fan of the early Damon Wayans:

“We take yo’ money, put it into ‘ho money, and then you make...’mo money.”

But I digress)

All of this, for the sake of the foreign reader, needs a quick bit of background.

Governor Spitzer rose to his current job (rumors of his imminent resignation are swirling around at the moment, but nothing has come to pass as of this writing) from his prior position as State Attorney General (New York State’s top law enforcement official), where he was personally and publicly responsible for the prosecution of prostitution rings...people who, in his own words, he found to be “disgusting”.

All of this is balanced against the public perception of the Governor as a highly-principled, straight-arrow kind of guy which has been crumbling under a variety of political and legal challenges to his Administration (“Troopergate”, for one), which dates from his days as a prosecutor and law enforcement leader and was punctuated by his campaign promises to come to Albany and clean things up.

The Wall Street investment community has a split opinion of Spitzer: on the one hand, he is a pariah to the mainline investment firms, who were forced to reconstruct the relationship between their research and “selling” operations...but on the other hand, many investors feel that his efforts have made for a more fair and open environment in which to do business, and for a number of them he is truly a hero.

The Governor has been a very public supporter of Hillary Clinton (and of course, is a Superdelegate), and it is possible that the fallout will spill over into the Presidential race...but as of this moment what impact will occur in unknown.

It is also as yet far too early to know the outcome of the larger story, but there is an additional element to the events that could be far more damaging to Spitzer personally than anything else we’ve discussed so far.

If the facts as presented in the indictment do indeed prove to be true, and Spitzer is indeed “client number nine”, then evidence collected from wiretaps reports he hired a woman to visit him in Washington, DC (and according to the indictment, paid her $4300) on February 13th of this year.

And as we all know, February 14th is Valentine’s Day.

The Governor’s wife is a leader in the environmental movement, and certainly his unfortunate timing raises the possibility that she may choose to have him recycled...and even if she turns out to be one of the most forgiving wives in recent history you gotta believe come Christmas, environmentalist or not, at the very least she’ll be putting a giant lump of coal in his stocking.

Well, that’s it for today...and next time...we return to the far more mundane, but far more real, world of nonstrategic nuclear weapons--where we’ll ask the question “why is Mr. Bush asking everyone else to give up their weapons while we develop new ones?”

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