The Lion: A Study in Contrasts

by JDH on August 29, 2009

Before I get started this week, I have a question: Why does every media outlet refer to the now departed Senator Edward Kennedy as a “Lion”?

Liberal Lion Ted Kennedy Dies says the Toronto Star.

Edward Kennedy Dies at 77, Liberal Lion of the Senate says the L.A. Times.

I’m a Canadian, so I have no direct involvement with any member of the U.S. Senate. From afar, Ted Kennedy appeared to be a study in contrasts.

He went to a party with a bunch of young single woman, without his wife, and drove his car, with one of them, into a shallow river. He didn’t try to save her, and she died, and he didn’t report it until the next morning. He got a slap on the wrist from authorities, and continued his Senate career.

Four years ago he got the law changed so that the Republican Governor in his state, Mitt Romney, couldn’t easily fill a vacant Senate seat. Then, weeks before his death, he sent a letter to the now Democratic governor requesting that the law be changed back so that the governor could fill the seat quickly, by appointment, after his death. That doesn’t strike me as a man interested in the best interests of his constituents.

However, Ted Kennedy had numerous friends on the “other side of the aisle”. He was better at reaching bi-partisan consensus than any other Senator, and he has the legislative accomplishments to prove it.

He divorced his first wife, but appeared to have a happy marriage with his second wife. That happy home life probably kept him going for the last ten years of his life.

So what do I think of Ted Kennedy? I have no opinion. I only make the observation that he made mistakes early in life, and he appeared to work hard to redeem himself later in life, and proof of that redemption is the fact that the four living ex-presidents attended his memorial. No one could have predicted that outcome thirty years ago.

We live in interesting times. A democratic senator is praised by his opponents. On the markets, bad is good. High deficits, high unemployment, the threat of swine flu, and massive consumer debt all contribute, apparently, to high consumer confidence and a rising stock market.

Here’s more bad news is good news: the rising obesity rate in Canada has apparently drastically reduced the rate of hip fractures. Apparently we are so fat now that when we fall, our fat cushions the fall and we don’t break our hips as much. Bad new is good news!

The markets keep chugging along, and I guess they will until they stop.

Last week I said that I Was Wrong, and I gave you this plan:

The Boys and their families are coming over for a barbecue this afternoon, so after I’ve had a few pops with them I’ll ask them where to put my money, and on Monday morning I’ll dump it all in. If they have no ideas I’ll throw some darts at a board, and wherever they land, that’s what I’ll buy. During boom times like this, what I buy won’t really matter.

(If you are a religious person, please pray that I come to my senses before Monday morning).

The Boys did come over, and I had more than a few pops, and we had a great time. They did give me some ideas on where to put my money, none of which I will reveal to you today.

It would appear that I have a number of religious readers, because on Monday morning I did nothing. I did nothing all week. I let my cash sit there. It’s still sitting there. And there it will sit until I am convinced that we are at a bottom.

More next week (if I know more next week).