Cops, the public, and stereotypes

A friend recently drove by a traffic stop conducted by the Raleigh Police Department and was surprised at the number of officers who responded. Four units were there and the driver, a black male, had his hands firmly and safely planted on the side of the car from his place in the driver’s seat. My friend turned around a few minutes later to see what happened and came across the driver still parked there, but now alone and doubled-over sobbing on the steering wheel. She shared her experience on social media.

I respect my friend tremendously and I take comfort that she cares so much for our neighbors. Nobody wants to see an incident in Raleigh like those that have taken place in various places in the country, where innocent black men – doing everything right – get shot to death by hotheaded cops. My black friends are understandably concerned about being pulled over and in an instant possibly losing their life.
Contine reading

Washington Monthly | The Ossoff-Parnell Lesson: Stop Chasing Romney Voters

The lesson of the special elections around the country is clear: Democratic House candidates can dramatically outperform Clinton in deep red rural areas by running ideological, populist campaigns rooted in progressive areas. Poorer working class voters who pulled the lever for Trump can be swayed back to the left in surprisingly large numbers—perhaps not enough to win in places like Kansas, Montana and South Carolina, but certainly in other more welcoming climes. Nor is there a need to subvert Democratic principles of social justice in order to accomplish this: none of the Democrats who overperformed Clinton’s numbers in these districts curried favor with bigots in order to accomplish it.

But candidates like Clinton and Ossoff who try to run inoffensive and anti-ideological campaigns in an attempt to win over supposedly sensible, wealthier, bourgeois suburban David-Brooks-reading Republican Romney voters will find that they lose by surprisingly wide margins. There is no Democrat so seemingly non-partisan that Romney Republicans will be tempted to cross the aisle in enough numbers to make a difference.

The way forward for Democrats lies to the left, and with the working classes. It lies with a firm ideological commitment to progressive values, and in winning back the Obama voters Democrats lost to Trump in 2016 without giving ground on commitments to social justice. It does not lie in the wealthy suburbs that voted for Romney over Obama in 2012, or in ideological self-effacement on core economic concerns.

Source: Washington Monthly | The Ossoff-Parnell Lesson: Stop Chasing Romney Voters

Biggest Credit Bubble in History – simplest way to strip cash – BMC software – most insatiable buyers leveraged-loan mutual funds    

BMC software borrowed $750 million via one of the riskiest forms of debt, payment-in-kind (PIK) notes, where, if push comes to shove, BMC can chose to pay interest not with cash but with more of the same debt.

The amount it owes gets larger, as its chances of survival shrivel. Instead of defaulting, the company will simply hand the lender more paper that’s increasingly worthless.BMC promptly forwarded the $750 million to its owners, a group of PE firms let by Bain Capital that had acquired BMC only seven months earlier.

Time is of the essence. Platinum Equity, which had acquired Volvo’s rental car division, waited only a week after closing the deal before sucking $262 million out that the company had obtained by issuing PIK debt.

So far this year, these already overleveraged companies have issued nearly $21 billion in junk-rated debt for the purpose of paying special dividends to the PE firms that own them — the most since the bubble of 2007, before it all blew up spectacularly.Of that, $3.5 billion were these reeking PIK notes.When a default occurs, the PE firms have the cash, and the lenders get stuck with largely worthless paper.

Source: Biggest Credit Bubble in History – simplest way to strip cash – BMC software – most insatiable buyers leveraged-loan mutual funds    

Tech Mega-Buyouts Edge Toward Comeback as BMC, CA Plot Deal – Bloomberg

Don’t miss this little fact: Bain and Golden Gate helped themselves to their own $750 million dividend from BMC a year after buying the company.

Four years after Blackstone Group LP and Silver Lake Management battled to take Dell Inc. private, buyout firms are back in the market for big leveraged technology deals.

BMC Software Inc., owned by Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital, and CA Inc. are considering a potential deal that would see the software companies combine as part of a transaction to take CA private, according to people familiar with the process. CA shares rose as much as 16 percent Tuesday, valuing the New York-based company at more than $15 billion.

If a deal goes ahead, and if it’s structured as a leveraged buyout by the private equity firms followed by a combination with BMC, it would be the biggest LBO of a tech company since Silver Lake and Michael Dell won the fight to buy Dell in 2013 in a transaction valued at almost $25 billion.

Source: Tech Mega-Buyouts Edge Toward Comeback as BMC, CA Plot Deal – Bloomberg

Swarm of 464 earthquakes hits Yellowstone National Park | Daily Mail Online

It’s low risk but low-risk doesn’t generate clicks. 🙂

Hundreds of earthquakes have hit Yellowstone National Park in the space of a week, according to experts.

A total of 464 quakes have been recorded over the past week at Yellowstone, which sits above one of the world’s most dangerous supervolcanoes.

This is the highest number of earthquakes at the park within a single week in the past five years.The recent activity has raised fears that the supervolcano is about to blow.

If it were to erupt, the Yellowstone supervolcano would be one thousand times as powerful as the 1980 Mount St Helens eruption, experts claim – although they say the risk is ‘low’.

Source: Swarm of 464 earthquakes hits Yellowstone National Park | Daily Mail Online

A Massive Lake Of Molten Carbon The Size Of Mexico Was Just Discovered Under The US


The Yellowstone volcano has a massive chamber the size of Mexico.

A recent scientific discovery has drastically changed our view of the global carbon cycle and identified a new significant risk. Researchers have discovered a giant lake or reservoir made up of molten carbon sitting below the western US.

The molten carbon (primarily in the form of carbonate) reservoir could drastically and immediately change the global climate for over a decade if it were to be released. Thankfully there is little risk in the near future of this happening. The carbon sits 217 miles beneath the surface of the Earth in the upper mantle and has no immediate pathway to the surface. In total the lake covers approximately 700,000 square miles, approximately the size of Mexico. This has redefined how much carbon scientists believe sits locked away in the Earth’s mantle and its interaction with surface and atmospheric carbon.

Source: A Massive Lake Of Molten Carbon The Size Of Mexico Was Just Discovered Under The US

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital – Rolling Stone

And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a “turnaround specialist,” a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don’t know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America’s top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

Source: Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital – Rolling Stone