17 October 2007
Even the smartest people routinely underestimate the possibilities of remote events.
One buyer [of commoditized subprime mortgages] was Mr. Kelsoe, a senior portfolio manager at the asset-management unit of Morgan Keegan & Co., a Memphis, Tenn., investment firm and unit of Regions Financial Corp. At the time, Mr. Kelsoe was riding the housing boom by investing heavily in mortgage-backed securities. At the end of 2005, his RMK Select High Income Fund showed a five-year average annual gain of nearly 14%, according to Morningstar Inc. That performance beat all U.S. high-yield funds as well as the Dow Jones Industrial Average. His success brought him a bit of celebrity. He appeared on CNBC, was quoted in The Wall Street Journal and gave investing lectures at universities.
"He talked about the importance of identifying and assessing risk," says Wilburn Lane, head of the business school at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn. Mr. Kelsoe spoke there in October 2006 to some 300 local businesspeople over a chicken-and-vegetables lunch. Mr. Lane, who says he was impressed with the 44-year-old's track record, later invested in one of the seven funds managed by Mr. Kelsoe.
People wonder why I'm rarely interested in hearing lectures. I find that books are better investments of my time; it's easier to filter for quality and I can quit a book easier than a lecture.
Public Service Announcement
Phenomenal indie rock group Mutemath will be on Conan O'Brien tonight.
Perry wants to be Veep
Yeah, I'd heard the rumors for a long time. Yeah, I thought there was a possibility. Still, I'm surprised that Rick Perry is endorsing Giuliani. I guess Perry really does want to be Veep.
10 October 2007
The DB Odyssey
I could write a paper on this David Brooks' op-ed on the gap between college and adulthood.
But I'm on a project that keeps me too busy for that. It's fairly typical David Brooks: long on provocation, short on facts.
03 October 2007
It's a good thing when the record supports what you say
This NYTimes article should put to rest the idea that Fred Thompson is too lazy to be POTUS.
The only trial lawyer who might win the nomination is Fred Thompson
So, let's say that you're a candidate running for a high-level office, like say -- I don't know -- President. Let's also say that a good portion of the national media establishment thinks that you're a phony. Let's say you also have indicated that you intend to opt out of the federal campaign financing. Further, let's say that fundraising is falling short of expectations and you aren't meeting your budget.
Would you decide to accept taxpayer money while slamming your better-funded rivals for not doing so?
Hmm. I don't think I would. John Edwards feels otherwise, apparently.
Land Commish Jerry Patterson produces $250M for schools
Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, today awarded the first four competitively bid leases for offshore wind power in the nationís history.Giving the NPV first -- how refreshing to see intellectual honesty.
"The Texas Wind Rush is on, and the pioneers are staking their claims," Patterson said. "And wherever there are pioneers, the settlers soon follow."
The leases, awarded to Wind Energy Systems Technology (W.E.S.T., LLC), allow work to begin immediately on the construction of meteorological testing towers on each of the four tracts. Wind Energy Systems Technology is based in Louisiana. The company already holds the nation's only offshore lease for wind power, and is collecting data for a wind farm off the coast of Galveston.
Once the wind farms are operational, W.E.S.T. will pay the state's Permanent School Fund a minimum of $132 million over the 30-year life of the leases, discounted for the present value of the leases. The company's actual dollar commitment to the PSF, in todayís dollars, is $258 million.
Factor in the Permanent School Fund's minimum gross revenue from the wind farms producing at 250MW to 300MW, and that total rises to more than $231 million, discounted for present value, or $433 million over the 30-years the leases cover.
SCHIP away at it
Greg Mankiw publishes an email he got from a presidential aide about Bush's impending veto of the Democrats' SCHIP bill.
If the facts are how they are presented (see here for a small critique), the case against the Democrats' SCHIP bill is pretty rock solid. Not terribly surprisingly, the media has thoroughly failed to report any of those facts.
Not a data point, Marc
Barack Obama attracted 24,000 New Yorkers to Washington Square Park last Wednesday night.It's always tempting to look for new, unique methods of detecting trends. Crowd size ain't one of 'em.
Hillary Clinton drew in 14,000 Bay Area Democrats to Oakland.
What's the biggest crowd that any Republican has managed to build this year? 2,000?
Is that because Republican voters aren't concentrated in cities? Or a symptom of the malaise in the party?
How many people was Howard Dean drawing to his rallies? And did all those people end up voting for him?
Besides, I'd be willing to bet that Democrats have historically outedged Republicans in crowd sizes even when Republicans won.
The one in which I link a lot
Also, ever since she started, the blogs have been unformatted on my screen. Hmm.
I laughed out loud
"I like to put it his way: at [the University of] Chicago, they say "Markets work well. Let's use markets." At MIT, they say "Markets fail. Let's use government." At GMU, they say "Markets fail. Let's use markets."George Mason does have some incredible scholars on its faculty. Maybe Michael Lewis should've written Moneyball about George Mason's rise. I'm sure it would've sold just as well.