Week of October 15, 2018

A few things of note from around the Internet this week:

Piano

David Kotok in the excellent Cumberland Advisors newsletter:

We think the president’s attack on the Fed was wrong. It hurts his political party. It hurts the country. And it helped tank the markets. The Trump-Navarro US-China trade war is worsening, and markets don’t like it. Markets now fear that Trump has undone the beneficial effects of his repatriation policy, tax cuts, and deregulation initiative. What started out on a positive path is now a war between the two largest economies of the world. That war now seems to be intensifying. Remember: In a shooting war the guns are pointed at each other; in a trade war the guns are pointed inward. Nobody wins.

The warning on the saloon piano was apt. Don’t shoot the player who is doing his best. (And especially don’t try to shoot the player if it is Doc Holliday.)

Mr. President. You will do what you want. That is continually made very clear by your behavior. The country will determine who is loco. And history will report the results

Pathetic

Upon any examination at all, the stereotype that women are more “emotional” than men is a laughable. Sady Doyle nails it:

What Kavanaugh displayed on that witness stand was not “emotion.” It was weakness. And that weakness — and our presumed obligation to protect him — helped land him one of the nation’s highest seats of power. In time, we learned that he had been coached to show anger and that what looked like a public meltdown was a carefully calibrated performance, the result of White House counsel telling Kavanaugh to “show the senators how he really felt.” Kavanaugh’s testimony was a conscious invocation of fragility to avoid consequences, the all-too-familiar spectacle of a man holding the world hostage to his pain.

Simple

This is how you run a fast food business:

In-N-Out and Snyder get high marks for a reason: good pay and career development. Restaurant workers, or “associates” in In-N-Out speak, make $13 an hour, versus the $9 to $10 or so that’s typical at most national competitors, including McDonald’s and Burger King. Part- and full-time restaurant workers can enroll in dental, vision and life insurance plans through the company, and full-timers can get health insurance and paid vacation, accruing time off after two weeks of employment.

The average In-N-Out manager has been with the company for 17 years and makes $163,000, more than the typical California dentist, accountant or financial advisor. Managers get profit-sharing, too. “They’re simulating an ownership mentality at the restaurant,” says John Glass, a restaurant-industry equity analyst at Morgan Stanley. “That manager now has skin in the game.”

Bonus: the next location in the Houston area is going to be Katy.

Start

With the way that the world operates today, there is a decent chance that, despite all of the current consternation, the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world returns to the status quo. However, I think that Ben Hunt makes an excellent point:

But I’ll say this. Once common knowledge has been created, it’s impossible to uncreate. It’s impossible to go back to the plausible deniability and bribes and renditions of the ubiquitous private knowledge world. MBS will never again have a “reformer” cartoon. He is now a Bond villain. That’s the common knowledge, and behaviors will change as a result. No more nights on the town with The Rock. No more warm meetings with Oprah. No more vacations with Jared. No more softball interviews with Tom.

Is that a lot? No. But it’s something. It’s a start.

Tough

Lionel dropped from 2nd at the Ironman World Championship in 2017 to 30th this year. It’s rare to see this much self-reflection from a top-tier pro-athlete.