Monday, November 22, 2010

Air Head Talk about California

I have spent enough time in California to know that there are some stereotypical air heads in the state. Not everyone mind you, but there are some. Some times they are very beautiful, but you just never know what their minds will conjure up. I meant one who thought Dick Cheney was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.

I met another, an extremely beautiful woman who starred in some films you would recognize. As she was now getting into her 40's and the acting roles were getting fewer and far between, she had decided to move on. Over dinner, she told me excitedly that she had a new career evaluating retail properties for an entrepreneur. When I asked her if she was evaluating them for an entrepreneur who was looking to put a business in retail locations or to buy retail locations for investment, she looked at me and told me she didn't know.

These thoughts come to mind as I read a MarketWatch column by Brett Arends. He attacks one, Chris Whalen. Arends details an email back-and-forth that he is having with Whalen. It sounds like the type of chat you might overhear going on between two California air heads.

They are arguing over the state of California finances, and neither has any facts. Arends finally calls Whalen on his lack of facts, Whalen responds by, what else, bringing in a third person, Henry Blodgett, who has little to do with Whalen not knowing the facts and blaming Blodgett for asking a question about California in the first place. La di da.

Whalen leaves the scene and it is at this point that one is left with Arends, who in a fury spouts off whatever he knows about California, what happened in Silicon Valley in 2003, what year the 1989 earthquake was, and on and on, all to prove that California is in fine financial shape. Of course, any sane mind starts to wander during all this madness, until it ultimately comes, the charge, "You are not listening to me."

At that point, you, of course, grasp for anything you might have heard and go for it. Of course, you say, "I heard, 'California is in fine shape.' " to prove you were paying attention.

And, so if any of you heard me mumbling anything of the sort about California being in fine shape while I was reading Arends piece about California, please forgive. It was a knee jerk reaction to having dates with way too many California air heads.

It's the first time, though, I have seen two men going through something like this (Probably because I don't generally pay attention to men that closely), but I learn something new every day.

Bottom line: Whalen should not have gone stomping off, if he had known the facts he wouldn't have. Arends was  babbling about all kinds of things that really had nothing to do with the current state of California's financial state.

The real numbers come from the non-partisan California's special budget auditor, technically California's Legislative Analyst's Office, who told us all just recently that in the next 18 months alone, the California deficit is set to skyrocket by $25 billion. And that it will continue in that area for years to come. On the other side of things, California just cancelled a $267.3 million money raise because the markets weren't friendly.

Got that? California needs to raise $25 billion plus over the next 18 months and they have to cancel a tinsy $267.3 million deal because of weak markets.

That's serious trouble regardless of what the air heads say.

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