Saturday, March 21, 2009

Excuse Me, But... (a quartet of impolite questions)

(1) If I were a Navy recruiter, wouldn't I be just a bit hesitant about selling the Navy to a guy named Hassan Abu-Jihaad? Apparently this guy's name didn't set off any warning bells, and he wound up on a ship where he was eventually accused of providing information about ship movements to terrorists. Luckily (for Hassan), the Bush administration screwed up the case, and he wound up convicted for disclosing classified information, but not for aiding terrorists. But gee, if someone had been a bit more vigilant in the first place... but I guess that would have constituted “profiling”.

(2) If I knew someone with a 200-pound chimpanzee that they dressed in human clothes and allowed to eat at the dinner table, would I voluntarily go to their house, and in particular would I try helping the chimp's owner get the big ape back where it belonged after it wandered off? I sure wouldn't, but one woman did, and she, um... “lost face” as a result. (sorry about that)

(3) Isn't it just possible that at least some of the people who were gypped by Bernie Madoff are partly to blame for their own misfortune? I mean, think about it. Here's a guy who claims to be another King Midas. He can turn your money into even more money, no matter what happens to the market – and here are client testimonials to prove it! Shouldn't that raise at least a hint of suspicion? It strikes me that these people violated the number one rule of investing, namely: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But investing in the usual way through the usual channels wasn't good enough for these folks – oh, no. They knew this guy who had figured out the secret code – the innermost workings – of the stock market, and he was going to make them rich. Call it “economic gnosticism”. The smart people find the smartest guy around and give him all their money, and don't ask questions. Well, they were half right – he was smart, but they weren't.

(4) Ever wonder why any policeman who is killed in the line of duty is declared a hero, and a pillar of the community – while at the same time cops are being indicted all over the place for brutality, corruption, working for the mob, and so on? I mean... why don't any of those rotten cops ever get killed in the line of duty? Or is that one of the perks of corruption – that you're never put in harm's way? Or... is it just possible that, every once in a while, one of those police “heroes” was actually one of the bad guys – but for public relations purposes he's remembered as a hero and martyr... even though a few people on the inside know the truth? I don't know the answer... but it is a curious thing, you must admit.

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