At wealth’s end …

Monday morning over coffee and I am waving goodbye to Jeff Bezos who has walked so far out on the pier of net worth that he is crossing his own ocean and did I mention I’m all in for mixed metaphor?

Jeff Bezos net worth today is approximately $130B. Stratospheric net worth. Net worth expressly worthy of expression in scientific notation¹:

Jeff Bezos’ net.worth ≅ $1.3 X 10¹¹

And it has been reported that Mr. Bezos doesn’t know what to do with all that net worth which disappoints me.  At the end of the pier in which his peers lag behind him by ∼$40B, at the pinnacle of wealth, at wealth’s end, Jeff Bezos doesn’t know what to do with all that net. Worth.  Casting about with rockets and a 500′ clock that operates off the earth’s thermal cycles, Jeff Bezos with more money than God Warren Buffett, appears to be searching for some sentimental hygiene

And aside: A clock that works off the earth’s thermal cycles?

Hmmm. Seems that will be short lived as we burn this muffin cycle to hot, hot, hot.

And time is a man-made construct. What’s up with that Mr. Bezos?

Evidently, on that long walk on a long pier, Mr. Bezos bypassed the reason for the walk. He accumulates steps on his financial FitBit but hasn’t expanded the view past his own wrist. Or casting rockets into the sea. Or a 500′ thermal clock buried in a West Texas mountain tracking time in units of what? What for?

So if Mr. Bezos is fishing for some ideas to spend at wealth’s end, some ways to cast a bit of net.worth for more immediate tangible results, well, here we go:

  • Purchase a country. Or two. Or maybe fix buy Puerto Rico. Instead of Puerto Rico, (Rich Port), we could call it Bezos Rico. Afterall, buy low, put in a little work and flip it as the 51st state, why not? It could be the grandest episode of Fixer Upper.
  • From Twitterer Matthew Chapman: Buy every homeless person in the US a median price home.  This could be an epic Oprah-chart-chanting moment: “And YOU GET a house, and YOU GET a house, and … ad nauseam, you get the idea … ” Mr. Bezos would still have a net.worth of $1.9 X 10¹º (USD)!

  And he would still qualify for the TOP 25 list of Ricos.

Aside: Being a homeowner myself, I am not a fan of this idea on account of the cost of ownership – insurance, utilities, maintenance, it’s a long list and gifting houses, in the end, may just be cruel. So … 

  • Economic experiment! Give each one of your employees a $192,000 bonus and watch what happens! Kill those nasty stories about corporate welfare and Amazon employees on public assistance. And then the stories about Jeff Bezos is one Rich Rico on account of social welfare can stop.
  • My personal favorite: Get creative and start a new currency! Call it the Bezos. Index the Bezos to a combination of US, Chinese, and Euro exchange rates. Seed the new exchange by awarding Bezos with every purchase made on Amazon. It’s a win-win.

Based on the reach of Amazon into our pockets, the Bezos will become currency quicker than you can say ‘mining for Bitcoins!’ Economies thrive on a healthy exchange of goods and services and we’re dying here in the wait for the trickle down of USD.  We can trade up in Bezos.

And another win! Competitively, Alibaba/Jack Ma will be put on what-for-what-just-happened-catch-up-already notice. Jack Jeff it up!

Ah, poor Jeff Bezos. He can’t make a financial move without moving markets, influencing outcomes, turning the tide. It looks lonely out at wits the end of wealth’s end¹

You’re an economic whale, Mr. Bezos.  Go ahead. Make a difference. Jump.

Make a splash.


¹ I love English. Words can be used and repurposed within a geometrically proximate distance of instance — “… net worth expressly worthy of expression … ” Mmmm. Low hum yummy.

² Sentimental Hygiene by Warren Zevon. Totally singable.

10¹¹: 10 raised to the 11th power. Written out = 100,000,000,000

A sundry assortment of whoa woe!

This last week the sundry assortment has been full of news that gives me pause to wonder in whoa. And woe in wonder. Shaking my head.

The very same day I was preparing to make the case that Senator Al Franken would make a great choice for President in 2020, Leeann Tweeden reported behavior on his part that is unbecoming a Senator, a President, any grown man.  And since it’s been quite a week, I’ll start my sundry assortment of whoa woe there.

Woe. Senator Al Franken

On vacation this summer I read Al Franken, Giant of the Senate and I was struck that he is a decent man who takes his work as a US Senator very seriously. I like Al Franken.  I was ready for him to run in 2020 because he’d be President af AF. O-kay-ay. That was immature. My bad.

But I was just about to make a case for Senator Franken for POTUS — he’s from the center of the country and not the coasts, populist, great education, entertainment industry experience, hard worker, blah, blah, blah — when, while drinking a fancy mocha latte chatting with my neighbors, Leeann Tweeden came forward with her account of his creepiness on a 2006 USO tour and my little balloon deflated like it had seen a giant dick in the sky a Navy training maneuver.

What to make of this? Saturday, November 18, 2017, Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update with Colin Jost and Michael Che, the same bold show that features Kate McKinnon giving Cicely Strong’s right breast a little squeeze during abduction sketches and has featured all manner of outrageous behaviors  including Al Franken as Stuart Smalley over the last 40+ years, noted that “it [the photo of Franken] looks bad” because it “is bad.” Al Franken was 55. Yes, it looks staged, but one of the participants was sleeping and had given zero (0) consent.  Really Al? Really?

I believe Ms. Tweeden. I believe her account. Mr. Franken forcibly kissed and groped her and he didn’t realize he crossed lines.

And I believe him too. What!?

I believe Mr. Franken because Navy pilots flying planes worth millions on technical maneuvers, use their technical skills to draw a giant sky penis. A naughty prank. And Naughty Al the headlining comedian on a 2006 USO tour was caught misbehaving badly. The culture needs to change. His is a perfect example of incidents that do not seem so bad when you are the perp but are indelible for the target, the victim, the innocent tired woman sleeping …

But women have had enough. Or is it time to change that statement to read: ‘women we have had enough’? The incident was 11 years ago and in the interim, Senator Franken appears to be an ally of women. His written apology to Ms. Tweeden seems genuinely contrite.

And we need individual male commitment to change. Does Senator Franken need to resign as punishment for crimes and misdemeanors committed when a comedian? Where do we allow for change? When do we forgive mistakes? Does an MO that includes serial sexual harassment and assault trump one reported incident? Do we hang Al high because we need to start somewhere and with him, we can?

I watch this with hope however misplaced that his career survives, sadness and woe.

Woe. Museum of the Bible

Woe. The half-billion dollar, that’s ~$500Million USD, Museum of the Bible opened up in Washington, D.C. this last week and I threw up in my mouth a little. There are many brands and flavors of Christianity and this one, this building sports the Hobby Lobby version.

And I’m horrified that there are Christians who do not think separation of church and state is important, who think that the state and their religion should be one and the same all the rest of us Christian Muslims Hindus Buddhists atheists everyone not us sinners be damned.

But then as a fan of Gutenberg and the small press, who reads anymore really?

And it might interest you to know that the grand opening gala for The Museum of the Bible was held at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. No surprise here. It is 1.2 miles from the Trump Hotel — an 8-minute drive by car, or an approximately 24-minute walk.

‘Surrounded by Bibles, Mahon said “I just hope this place can stay open.’ “¹

I just hope this democracy does too.

Whoa! Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif) & Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D- NY)

And woe unto Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III sitting in a hot seat.

First up, and addressing the current state of the union, Karen Bass questioned Jefferson B.S, III, the Attorney General of the United States (AGOTUS) on a recent FBI report on black activists promoting or using violence against police officers.  Read about it and watch it here, (The Root), read the full FBI report here (HuffPost).  (Full disclosure: I watched the questioning. I skimmed the FBI report.)

TL; DR? TL;DW? The report referenced black identity extremist groups that are now defunct; incidents against police cited – while making national news headlines — were carried out by individuals who were not members of a black identity extremist group; and most telling, there is no similar report ordered or existing for white identity extremist groups and this is where Karen Bass’ questioning reminding Sessions of the existence of the alt-right and Klu Klux Klan as active white identity extremist groups was so telling.  You could see it right on the tip of Sessions’ tongue. Really. It was like watching a frog realize the water in the pan is boiling …

Second, and addressing past testimony the AGOTUS gave when he was a Senator pushing for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, was Representative Hakeem Jefferies, 8th congressional district of New York. Rep. Jefferies circled Jefferson B.S., III like a python, questioning Jeff B.S. with statements he made while prosecuting a case of a police officer who used “didn’t recall” and how that righteousness justified the prosecution of President Clinton. And then the python started squeezing. Jefferies brought up Jeff BS, III’s own use of the words “don’t recall” 36X at his confirmation hearing, 20X during the current questioning, and “don’t recall” as potentially perjurious. Watch here.

TL;DW? “The attorney general of the United States of America should not be held to a different standard than the young police officer whose life you ruined by prosecuting him for perjury,” Jeffries concluded as his time expired.  (That whole sentence is a link to a ThinkProgress article. IMO, worth the read.)

And why is Sessions still AGOTUS a-perjurin’ and a-sittin’ in the hot seat? Oh. Right. White Lies, I and White Lies, II.

Woe. Whoa! Trump and the GOP Elephants

When I heard that Trump was lifting the ban on importing elephant parts as trophies from hunting abroad, I thought might be a signal to the GOP that game on! We can import better elephant parts than you. And woe.

But then whoa! There was much outrage on both sides of the political isle, it is reported that Precedense Trump isn’t a fan of big-game hunting, and well this was a spot of good news, yes?

Or no.

As always, it’s complicated.

Whoa! Obamacare enrollment ahead of last year.

Whoa! In spite of the reduction in funding for advertising the ACA Open Enrollment period going on RIGHT NOW, sign up here if you need to …

Enrollment is up 45% from last year.  Whoa!

Whoa! 400 sign an open letter on the GOP tax plan.

400 wealthy citizens signed an open letter to the GOP saying ‘you don’t need to cut our taxes.’

Whoa! So many questions, so many comments, so many thoughts.

Does trickle-down economics not work?

Is it possible for the 400 wealthy to trickle down on their own? Do they not trickle because they don’t know how? don’t know where? Do we need taxes to force them to trickle down? Do they lack imagination when it comes to spending for the social good?

And “trickle on down George Soros!” sounds like a game show.

There is so much to unpack here. Macro economics of taxes meets the “micro”-economics of wealthy households meets the “macro”-economics of some of those wealthy households can’t make a macro move without moving markets. Billionaires need to be careful.

And philanthropy. Where does that fit? Philanthropy is good but does not always benefit the “common good.”

Hmmm, economics. It’s complicated. More. Later.


¹Ortiz, Erik. “Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., opens with celebration amid cynicism”. NBC News. 18 November 2017 7:00 AM. Web. 19 November 2017.

SCRABBLE and Economic Inequality

SCRABBLE can be a harsh word game. You can end up with a rack of all vowels, no consonants; a rack of all consonants, no vowels; a rack with what I call dead-end letters — ‘C’ and ‘V’ — they don’t pair with other letters to make any 2-letter words which are crucial on a tight board.  Without the right companion letters, C & V are the boat-anchors, the sinkers, the stinkers in a SCRABBLE game.

And SCRABBLE economics. Most of us scrabble along from payday to payday trying to score enough points to give a respectable showing on the board. It helps to have some multiple point consonants and some vowels. It really helps to have the Q & the Z – big 10 point letters, or the J, X & K followed by the W, H, & Y.

And being born to a triple word score and covering a double letter with a big point letter plus a bonus for using all your letters and clearing your rack? You get 50 bonus points and a big start over — all new letters. Maybe your parents had lots of extra points for you to start with. That and English is your primary language. It is the language of business world-wide.

And I think of the ways SCRABBLE is a mirror of economic or income inequality. The luck of the draw. The letters you’re born with.

Then again, it is just a game.