Negotiating Like Pirates

By Lloyd Graff

Pirate Negotiator

Connecting the dots from Wednesday’s news. Scott Brown, the Republican, won Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, which he had held for 47 years. Brown’s résumé includes posing nude for Cosmopolitan in 1982 and having a daughter who was both a semifinalist on American Idol and a starter for the Boston College basketball squad.

Then there’s the saga of competing Somali pirate teams threatening to shoot at each other and blow up a Greek oil tanker if they don’t collect a ransom.

Don’t forget about Kraft’s $19.5 billion takeover of Cadbury, the $145 billion in tainted investment bankers’ bonuses, and the proposed Obama tax on the earnings of TARP babies.

A few more dots—a record week for junk bond sales, credit squeezed further for small business and the Federal Housing Administration, and Lebron James passing up the Slam Dunk Competition at the NBA All Star Weekend.

Here’s my take.

Scott Brown meshed with voters who are scared and angry at a Washington that rewards investment bankers, health insurance companies and big multinationals, while average Americans can’t get jobs because small business can’t get money.

The health care reform bill looks like an insider’s game brokered by snippy Nancy Pelosi and sourpuss Harry Reid. Reid probably won’t even win reelection in Nevada.

Health care reform looks like it has been hijacked by the insurance thugs, drug companies and greedy politicians, who look a lot like Somali pirates threatening to blow it up if they can’t get their cut.

I think the investment bankers at Goldman Sachs who played the Wall Street chaos like a banjo are also Somali pirate-like, and the dealmakers at Lazard are Captain Hooks, making fortunes for merging macaroni and crème eggs with Kraft and Cadbury. It feels unfair that Joe Schmo gets blacklisted for a job because he suffers from diabetes from eating too much mac’n cheese and chocolate bars. Life is often unfair—just look at poor Haiti.

Scott Brown’s election is a slap at the cynical partisan politics that rewards pirates. Unfortunately, replacing Ted Kennedy with the Republican who challenged Barack Obama to a two-on-two basketball game last night (teaming with his daughter) is no slam dunk for meaningful change in Washington. Obama could sure use Lebron on his team.

Question: Who are the baddies and pirates, legislators bargaining for goodies or investment bankers profiting from TARP?

Ayla Brown Singing National Anthem at her own basketball game

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16 thoughts on “Negotiating Like Pirates

  1. mr beef

    Gorgeous daughters and one of them plays basketball for Boston College. Of course Scott Brown beat the frump, Martha Coakley. And the girls are AVAILABLE Brown announced Tuesday night. Is he holding an auction. Goldman Sachs could get him a good price if Brown hired their mergers and acquisions team.

  2. snooty responder

    For some reason this entry is reading like a trash tabloid. Cosmo pictures, American Idol contestants, folks that are snippy or sourpusses. greedy bankers & players… all titilating & inflamatory…. why? Because without those we wouldn’t read the article? We need entertainment in order to be interested? Just like the rest of media. The only portion I needed to read was nothing has changed in Washington. Too bad we spend our time on entertainment & not on real improvement.

  3. Deborah Rudy

    Okay, are we going to judge Scott Brown’s resume on the basis of having a daughter that is both musically and athletically gifted? Is that a bad thing? Or that he posed nude for Cosmo 28 years ago? How about a president who smoked but didn’t inhale? Or one who admits to drug use during high school? Are those the resume highlights on which we chose to focus when they were elected? Scott Brown meshed with voters who are angry at the sort of elitism evidenced when those in power convince themselves that they are always the smartest people in the room. They are angry at a congress and an administration that has been drunk with power, completely forgetting the people who elected them and resorting to back room deals of the worst sort. Old sayings stay around for a reason: “Absolute power corrupts, absolutley.”

  4. Lloyd Graff

    Scott Brown was elected not for who he is, but for what he represents. The same could be said for the election of Obama as President. I think that talking about the symbols, i.e. Brown’s truck, Pirates, Alya’s singing and basketball prowess, and Obama’s “semi blackness” are all relevant to the politics.


    One point I want to make. Like Senator elect Brown said: “It isn’t Ted Kennedy’s seat it’s the peoples seat.”
    Oops, another point: Brown will be a great improvement.

  6. Michael

    Lloyd, I’ll be letting my subscription to TMW run out. Your magazine has always left me a bit uncomfortable because of its slightly left leaning take on the news. I can’t put a finger on any one thing in particular, it’s sort of like a bad odor that seems to come from everywhere yet nowhere. Your views on Obama, your interview questions, and your recent comments about Scott Brown, where you imply that his only qualifications are posing nude for Cosmo and his daughter’s dubious accomplishments. (Do you smell that?). These all add up to a stink on my desk. You are certainly welcome to your views, I’m just not interested in finding them in my mailbox.

    Your mag is cutting edge, relevant, slick, interesting, and gone…

  7. Bill Moore

    Michael ,
    I would consider my self centrist leaning right, and I find most of the op-ed pages that Mr. Graff writes are smack dab to the right,,, where does that put you??\
    I read the swarf for the entertainment, I read the articles because they are relevant to the machining industry , and downright helpful at times.
    I fear Brown is an unqualified pretty boy who will do more to hurt this country than help, so he should fit right in on the Hill.

  8. lloyd Graff

    Can’t a guy have some fun. One reason why Scott Brown won was because he has a sense of humor. I find Brown’s campaign refreshing. If we look back on the presidential campaign McCain’s lackluster effort highlighted his age. His acceptance of Sarah Palin as VP candidate was a strategy choice that reflected on his policy and strength as a potential President. Who the guy is can be reflected in personal choices and family relationships. Isn’t John Edwards’ affair and illegitimate child fair game when discussing a politician.

  9. Tyler Shinaberry

    Lloyd my old friend… it goes way beyond your take, after all, Teddy Kennedy was a modern day Blackbeard minus the patch, hook, and parrot. I am certain rum and boats were readily available.

    If you make it to the Mansfield, Ohio area, I welcome you to come to any of our small town (non-partisan) Tea Party meetings on the Second and Fourth Mondays of each month (previously seen and partly ridiculed on Comedy Central’s Daily Show). The grassroots welcomes you and your opinions with an open mind. (Don’t worry, MSNBC is lying, we clean up after ourselves at protests that are many times larger than claimed and don’t riot).

    If you would like to attend a larger event, on April 15th Michael Reagan will be speaking before our auditorium. He isn’t being brought in from massive amounts of wealth, but from a group of people trying to educate and give REAL hope to a quickly failing manufacturing community. Don’t worry, all fundraising is provided by the support of community Patriots; unlike Acorn, this kind of community organizing isn’t supported by stimulus tax dollars.

    While I agree Brown may not be the perfect answer, please keep in mind two key points:
    1) Your politician works for and represents YOU, whether you voted for him/her or not
    2) Politicians are NOT above the law, are NOT deities, and are NOT better than anyone regardless of race, creed, status, education, religious belief, or gender

    Let’s face it, the left laughs in the face of NORMAL people: Our Founding Fathers, Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber, Scott Brown, people who can figure out Turbo Tax… You know, the kind of hard working people who built this country and the machining industry along with it… the innovators, the breadwinners, the working class!

    Progressivism is a failed theory Lloyd. Theory gets you nowhere in business and politics alike. What gets the job done right and makes a profit is what matters, you know that. In this case, the much forgotten Original Constitution is the proven workhorse. After all, the French gave the Statue of Liberty not only as a gift, but to remind them to be more like us!

    In machining terms, progressivism is that over-sized, over-complex, over-priced, new machine that the salesperson says should work, but turns into a dust-collecting useless investment, resulting in company bankruptcy.

    On the other end, I will go as far as to say the ideology of the Tea Party is no different from the mindset of the Graff-Pinkert Company. Contrary to most media driven belief, the Tea Party movement is not built on anger, but is built on commonsense and proven results.

    Like you Lloyd, we see the need for simplicity in our operations and find it necessary to build on a foundation of proven reliability. One only need look at the Original Constitution as the sturdy Wickman casting and the advancements of our society as the new simplistic controls you use in your own business..

    Judging by your own commentary, I can see you too are questioning what this “change” was really all about. “Fundamentally transforming” this great nation was neither necessary nor wanted. You are a man of commonsense, I know you see it.

  10. C.T.

    Remember Chappaquidick? We all have skeletons in the closet if one looks hard enough!
    Lets also not forget where all of the Kennedy’s money came from.

  11. Noah

    I want to set the record the straight as someone who edits Lloyd on a daily basis and has known him all 29.9 years of my life. The guy is pretty much a Republican. More or less a Fiscal Republican. Earlier this week he had actually written a paragraph in the scuttlebutt saying that passing the new health care bill made him want to gag. I suggested he take it out. The dude is just trying to be a little witty and have a little fun. Relax guys, life is too short to get bent out of shape about a guy who differs from your opinion or just makes light of all the hatin goin on out there. We love strong comments with lots of emotion. Those are the best. I just think some people don’t understand what he truly believes. I will admit that he does have a unique approach to things sometimes.

  12. Kumar Pardeep

    i am a long time reader of TMW.I started reading TMW as a manager of a company and became director of the same company . i am realy very thankfull to you for providing so indepth information about steel industry in context of whole world.

  13. Mike Richards

    Republicans, Democrats, it doesn’t matter. Our politicians are spending our Grandchildrens money because ours is already gone. I’ll bet my retirement money is worth 30 cents on the dollar by the time I need it…

  14. Frank League

    99.9% of us probably have a little mud on our sleeve. The acid test is how each of us would perform in congress (if given the opportunity), so let’s give it a little time before making any grossly wrong assumptions about Scott Brown.
    Hopefully, the voters made a good decision this time. Besides, I really dislike people who are always trying to interpret someones character and actions before they have an opportunity to show us what they are made of.
    In my opinion fully 75% of the members of congress need to be replaced by individuals who can see gray, are willing to work with each other, and are willing to adopt term limitations on their seats.


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