Archive for October, 2009

Forbes: Harvard Sold at the Bottom

Posted on October 27th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Forbes magazine reports that Harvard lost $439 million selling off its private equity portfolio at the bottom of the market last year.

Harvard never publicly disclosed selling any private equity, which has become a money-sucking disaster zone. In its fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, Harvard reported a 31.6% loss in its private equity portfolio. In addition to the $439 million net realized loss, the endowment recorded a $1.9 billion change in net unrealized losses in its private equity portfolio.

While it is unclear how much of its private equity assets Harvard managed to sell or at what price, it seems to have sold some assets when the market was at its weakest point….

What Forbes doesn’t get into is why Harvard to sell at the bottom: The university was running out of cash.

Coincidence? I Think Not

Posted on October 27th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Look at it this way: Since the Yankees last won the World Series, George Bush was elected—twice—we were attacked by terrorists, got mired in two wars, and were slammed by the worst global recession since the Depression.

Also, the World Series that have been played since then have been horrible.

The Yankees have been away from the World Series for the last five years, and in the meantime, baseball’s showcase has flopped on a national scale.

For the first time, five consecutive World Series have lasted only four or five games. The Red Sox swept the Cardinals in 2004, the White Sox swept theAstros in 2005, the Cardinals bounced the Tigers in five in 2006, the Red Sox swept the Rockies in 2007, and the Phillies trumped the Rays in five last October.

And now: The Yankees are back in the World Series, we have an inspiring new president, and the global economy is emerging from its dark days.

Coincidence?

Surely not.

Could it be that as go the Yankees, so go baseball, the United States…yea, the world?

I think we all know the answer to that.

Meantime, the New York Times reports on a delightful phenomenon: Mets fans [sic] can either root for the Yankees, their crosstown nemesis, or the Phillies, their hated division rival.

To paraphrase Garrett Morris, the baseball gods been berry, berry good to me this year.

Go Yankees!

Posted on October 24th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

That’s all.

Truth, Justice, and the American Get Out of the Way

Posted on October 24th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

I love the dilemma CNN, the formerly respected news channel, finds itself in: After running a feel-good special on Latinos in America, it finds itself the object of vociferous criticism—from Latinos—for continuing to air the bigoted rants of Lou Dobbs.

The hypocrisy, critics say, lies in CNN’s decision to woo Hispanic viewers with a prime-time documentary while still giving Mr. Dobbs a nightly forum. Roberto Lovato, a founding member of Presente.org, a Latino advocacy group, said in a statement, “We won’t allow the network to court us as viewers while, at the same time, they allow Dobbs to spread lies and misinformation about us each night.”

Other groups are blasting Dobbs because he’s a birther, which is to say, a bigot.

CNN says that Dobbs’ hour-long show isn’t commentary but a newscast, which, if you’ve ever watched the show, is either an insult to the intelligence of CNN viewers or a recognition of the intelligence of Dobbs’ fan base.

But there’s hope: Dobbs may leave CNN to go to Fox, which would be about right. Let’s get all the haters in one place, and then change the channel.


The Globe Slags Harvard

Posted on October 24th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 25 Comments »

…in an editorial titled “It’s a University, Not a Hedge Fund.”

The school’s recent troubles show that Wall Street traders aren’t the only ones who were done in by an excess of cleverness; so, too, were Harvard money managers who emulated them. The university should rethink its strategy. When Harvard stumbles, the pain radiates throughout Greater Boston.

Fair enough. But a couple of other points.

First, for a while there I’m not so sure it was clear whether Harvard was a university or a hedge fund. To explain: Over the course of this decade, as vast wealth seemed to consume and define Harvard, the university was engaging in what one might call a battle for its soul.

Was it a university which created a massive financial infrastructure in order to fund and broaden its mission of education and scholarship?

Or was it a combination corporation/investment bank which made massive amounts of money, some of which funded education and scholarship, some of which went to line the pockets of those making the money and running the university?

Point two has to do with the Corporation—the secretive and borderline competent group (just going by results here, sorry) that constitutes the power behind the university’s throne.

The Secret Seven continue to defy calls for greater transparency and accountability. Can anyone do anything about it?

Standing Eagle Flying High

Posted on October 24th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Give him his due: Longtime commenter Standing Eagle chastised me a few weeks back for denigrating the likelihood of a public option being part of Obama’s health care bill.

Now WashPo reports that the public option seems increasingly likely….

The Worst Lede Ever?

Posted on October 22nd, 2009 in Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

“While there wasn’t much news on Tim Wakefield’s back surgery yesterday, a Red Sox spokesman did say in an e-mail that the procedure was “’successful.’’’

Amalie Benjamin, today’s Globe

What If You Took a College Tour…

Posted on October 22nd, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

…and nobody was there, because the college was shut down due to budget cuts?

That’s what happened at Cal State Fullerton the other day.

Bad as things are at Harvard, they are much worse elsewhere….

How Long Before This Hits Harvard?

Posted on October 22nd, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

A Georgetown student is advertising for a personal assistant.

“As my PA you will receive an email once a day by 9:00 am with a task list for that day and a time estimate for each task,” Cooper wrote in the job listing, which was first reported by the student newsmagazine, Georgetown Voice. “Important tasks will be bolded on the list and must be done that day (even though everything on the list should theoretically be finished on a daily basis). At the end of the day you will send me an email telling me what tasks are incomplete or that all tasks have been completed.”

The pay? $10-$12 an hour…

Heartbroken? Or Just Fatalistically Depressed?

Posted on October 21st, 2009 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

In Seacoast Online (got me), Carl Pepin argues that too many Red Sox fans are exaggerating their emotions about the pathetic end to the Red Sox season.

There’s no reason to be heartbroken, he points out. If you think 2009 was heartbreaking, you’ve got a short memory.

Unless you experienced the TRUE heartbreak of the 1967 Series (loss in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals), the 1975 Series (loss in seven games to the Cincinnati Reds), the 1978 one-game playoff loss to Bucky Dent and his pinstriped pals, and the tragic loss of game 6 in the 1986 Series (to the New York Mets) and the ultimate loss in game seven of that fall classic, you have absolutely no idea about what devastation feels like.

I welcome the return of Red Sox gloom, of course. It fits the team better than the cocky preening of recent years. And I enjoy Pepin’s assertion that you’re not really a true Red Sox fan if you haven’t known pain.

It’s all good.

(Oh boy, are the gods of baseball going to punish me….)