Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy This

The Naked Dollar visited Zuccotti Park today, site of the largest and now famous Occupy Wall Street protest. I am here to report what I saw. I will come back to the picture above, which was most definitely not an "Occupy" rally.

The approach looked like this:

Zuccotti park isn't a park at all, it's a plaza. I paced it off; the entire protest is about 100 yards long and forty yards wide. Okay, time to go in. The first thing I saw was the "library:"

Naturally, I was curious what books were inside. Adam Smith? Hmm. More likely lots of Alinsky and Marx. I couldn't find an opening so I unzipped one of the flaps (libraries are supposed to be welcoming, right?). Here's what's inside:

I think there's one bin of books there. The two people inside were passed out, so I didn't engage.

Here's "Legal," whatever that means:

And inside...

Some hard work going on, but hey, it was 9:30 in the morning. Here's the infamous "southeast corner," where the "infiltrators" are camped out...

The infiltrators are the homeless, ex-cons, druggies and the like who have sniffed out free meals and other handouts and have made themselves quite inconvenient. (The left only likes these people when they are an abstraction, a convenient revolutionary focal point. They don't actually want to see them at their fun camp out.)

And just in case you thought this was a mainstream movement, there's this:

And this...

This is a thoroughly Marxist crowd...but incoherent at the same time. Every protester seems to have his or her own priorites, like the owner of this sign...

These guys look comfy...

And unions seemed to dominate the crowd...


There's a trail of sorts that you can walk that loops around the entire affair...

Here's what I know, because I was there. It is a fetid place populated mostly by young, white kids who are apparently looking for meaning in their lives, but just don't have the education or intelligence to look in the right places. Incoherence and economic illiteracy was everywhere on display. (I didn't see it myself, but my favorite was a woman who had a sign that said, "Nationalize the Fed." When a journalist pointed out that the Fed was, in fact, owned by the government, she said, "Check your f**king facts!")

I counted perhaps 100 people who were up and about. There were around 120 tents as well. A random sample that I peeked inside of suggests that maybe half of these were occupied with about 1 1/2 people each. That's another 90 people, so let's call it 200 all together. Now, how many should we subtract for...

  1. paid union workers
  2. paid ACORN workers (that story just came out)
  3. drug addicts, ex-cons, and homeless people just hangin'
  4. media
  5. tourists like me?

I'll bet the true activists numbered around 50. Granted, there are days when they get more.

And now, to my point. Go back and look at the first photo of the Washington Mall. That picture is of a Tea Party rally. The small circle contains enough space to fit not just Occupy Wall Street, but every other "Occupy" in country.

Get my drift? This is a small number of, frankly, pathetic people, and yet the media, and certainly the Democratic Party, for whom this is catnip, is in thrall of them. The day after the Washington Mall Tea Party rally the New York Times reported about it on page A21, but we get daily, breathless, coverage of this smattering of lost, incoherent souls in Zuccotti Park.


Name that News Source

(1) U.S. economy grew at a 2.5% annual rate in third quarter, nearly double the second-quarter rate, government says.

(2) New Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Steady at 402,000; Economy Shows Modest 3rd Quarter Growth

These are two different headlines from CNN's and Fox's websites. Can you match them to the source - who posted (1) and (2)?

This is a rhetorical quiz. I wonder what CNN's phrasing might have been like if Bush were president? Hey, and whatever happened to the whole $4 gas story, anyway? When it hit $3 under Bush, it was all you could read about.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Corzine the Destructor

Has anyone else noticed what a serial failure this guy is?

1998 - Loses piles of money for Goldman Sachs and gets forced out by Hank Paulson.

2000 - Buys a Senate seat for $65 million. Highlight of Senate career: engineering John Edwards as John Kerry's running mate.
2002 - Wife dumps him for cheating.

2003 - Decides it would be a great idea, as a public official, to shack up with Carla Katz, who happens to run a municipal employee union with whom he negotiates. Gives her major dough, forgives loans.

2005 - Jim McGreevey resigns in disgrace, Corzine buys Governorship. Raises already sky-high New Jersey taxes, escalates government spending, trashes economy.

2009 - Loses governorship to unknown lawyer.

2010 - Named CEO of MF Global, a money manager. Decides it would be a good idea to get into leveraged bond trading, stock drops 80%, Moody's cuts ratings. Rumor has it he's out.

What will Jon Corzine trash next?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Naked Dollar Is the First to Have Wayin "W"

While I still toil in the financial industry, I have also recently co-founded an internet start up called Wayin with my golf buddy Scott McNealy (I knew golf would pay off some day!). Scott is the former co-founder and CEO of Sun Microsystems, so Wayin has good tech DNA.

This is a short video that describes the service.

You can also see Scott explain it here.

Basically, we are creating a unified, mobile solution for sentiment collection. It also makes possible interactive television. And it's just a fun way to share photos. Check it out, you'll see. It's a free app for iPhone and Androids, and it's a website:

Incidentally, it's a great way to promote your business. Start a channel and start asking relevant questions. There will be a "box" soon on channels that you can use to drive users to your site.

As for the "W," we hope that will soon be ubiquitous, like the Facebook "F" or the Twitter "T." You will see it at the bottom of this and every post. Here's what happens when you click it:

  1. You get the chance to "wayin" on the photo in that particular post. For instance, the last article generates a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" for Herman Cain.
  2. You can launch the photo/question into Wayin itself.
Soon, you will also be able to create your own question using the same image.

If it sounds complicated, it's not. We're in the start up phase now, so Scott and I could use all the help we can get. Give it a shot!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Herman Cain for President

The Naked Dollar supports Herman Cain for president.

The others are wanting, and we all know why. But it isn't simply that Cain is the last conservative standing: I really, really like this guy. He's the opposite of Rick Perry. the more you know him, the more highly you think of him. And I have friends who know him personally who tell me he's the real deal.

I think Cain's ideas are spot on, and he articulates them brilliantly. I love the fact he came from nothing and achieved so much, but none of it on the back of racial preferences. He has fantastic private sector experience. He ran the Kansas City Fed. He has a degree in math and a masters in computer science. No dummy.

But more than that, he is the personification of the American Dream, and it's something he believes in to his core. He even won the Horatio Alger Award.

He has never held an elective office. So? You want another career politician? Cain has run things, big companies. This should translate well into running the executive branch, certainly better than some senator who's run a staff of thirty. He understands the economy and that government can't create jobs, only destroy them.

He has no foreign policy experience, that's true. But neither did Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barack Obama. The majority of our presidents have had no foreign policy experience. You trust that you're electing someone with intelligence who will figure it out. I have few doubts about Cain on this score.

Can he win the nomination? Yes. Conservatives have flirted with Bachmann and Perry and are largely dismissing them. Few will get comfortable with Romney. I haven't. That leaves Cain.

But here's the thing. Cain has the highest positive intensity score of any candidate by a wide margin. It's apparently the highest ever measured by Gallup. You can read about it here. His only issue is low name recognition, but the data suggest that as he becomes better known, his support will continue to grow. Just today, Cain pulled even with Romney in a national poll.

Can he beat Obama? Hell, yes. Obama enters the race in a weaker position than almost any incumbent in a century. He is hemorrhaging support from every quarter, and the economy won't recover in time to bail him out (because his own policies are keeping it down). And Cain will eat into the only strong support that Obama still has: the black vote.