Lest you think the markets are free

In related news, archeologists today discovered a stone tablet containing the Lex Concido Rex, which apparently codified the imperial laws banning species extinction proclaimed by one Dens Ingens, a dinosaur emperor from the Gwaag Dynasty:

Stock market speculators will not be allowed to profit from the falling share prices of banks and insurance companies, financial regulators have announced…. The City regulator introduced a ban on the “short-selling” of banking and other financial shares on the London stock market. Short-selling is essentially a form of betting; a technique used by hedge funds and speculators to profit from falling share prices.

And once more history repeats itself. If prices are going down, why, it must be the speculators! Why not just have done with it and pass a law forbidding stock prices to decline that also gives everyone ten billion dollars? It would be nearly as effective.

Barack Obama’s IQ is ~116

An IQ guy attempts to work it out:

[T]hese are the facts concerning Obama’s LSAT score while attending Law School at Harvard University. We do not know his actual LSAT score; however, after much research, we found that the average LSAT score for all Harvard students is 171. The percentile rank for an LSAT score of 171 at Harvard is 98.8%.

MENSA will accept LSAT scores as a means of qualifying for MENSA membership. (MENSA also accepts up to 200 various IQ tests and other tests of cognitive function as well.) The LSAT score required for MENSA membership is equal to a percentile of 95% or higher. Thus, basing Obama’s estimated LSAT score of 171 ranks him in the top 98.8% (percent/percentile) range which is clearly above the lowest acceptable LSAT percentage rank of 95%, which clearly affirms that Obama has a qualifying intelligence quotient that would allow him acceptance into MENSA.

Since MENSA accepts various IQ Tests as well as other cognitive tests to qualify for MENSA membership it is safe to estimate that Obama’s IQ Score could range anywhere from a low IQ score of 130 based on the Stanford Binet IQ Test, Revision 5, to a high IQ score of 148 based on the Cattell IQ Test.

What the IQ guy failed to account for is the fact that Harvard University practices affirmative action. PBS Frontline reports: “The gap in SAT scores persists even at the highest levels of achievement. A study of the 1989 applicants to five highly-selective universities found that white candidates’ average combined SAT score was 186 points higher than the corresponding SAT average for African American applicants.”

Furthermore, the New York Times reports that “At the best schools, by contrast, efforts to diversify the student body translate into a 400-point bonus for minority students on the SAT tests.”

That 98.8 ranking, according to the average Harvard LSAT, translates to an estimated 138 IQ, which is equivalent to a combined pre-1996 SAT score of 1310. That’s pretty good, if not spectacular. However, note that this very same 98.8th percentile is only 1290 when taken directly from the pre-1996 SAT. [There is a dichotomy between the reported 98.8 percentile IQ equivalence on the LSAT and the 98.8 percentile on the pre-1996 SAT. Since Mensa accepts the 95th percentile on the LSAT as evidence that one is in 98th percentile in intelligence, it’s clear that the SAT-IQ conversion, based as it is on a broader population sample, is the more accurate and 1290 is the correct figure] Due to affirmative action, however, one must reduce that score by at least 186 points. (400 seems extreme; I suspect the NYT article is talking about the new SAT, which isn’t valid for the purposes of this comparison.) Thus, giving Obama the benefit of the doubt drops his score to 1104, which is equivalent to an IQ of 116. That’s not bad, but it is significantly less intelligent than Hillary’s 140 IQ, as well as being lower than George W. Bush’s 125 IQ (1206 SAT).

Before one points to the fact that Obama ranked highly in his class, it’s important to keep in mind that Bill Bradley was a Princeton Rhodes Scholar despite his 485 Verbal SAT and mediocre 103 IQ. Academic success, like every other kind of success, is just as much about hard work and determination as it is about intellectual firepower, but Barack Obama’s supporters obviously shouldn’t be attempting to make their case for him on the basis of what is, based on the available information, probably an IQ of between 115 and 120, only one standard deviation above the norm. Of course, this estimate is based on averages which don’t necessarily apply to a single individual; Obama could lay the matter to rest by simply permitting his scores to be released to the public.

If his intelligence is so incredibly important, as some of his more visibly insane supporters insist, then surely the senator should inform us precisely how intelligent he is. Because he demonstrates his ignorance and a less-than-impressive intelligence nearly every time he opens his mouth despite his handlers’ attempts to retroactively fix his statements: “The fact that we have reached a point where the Federal Reserve felt it had to take this unprecedented step with the American Insurance Group is the final verdict on the failed economic philosophy of the last eight years.”

First, AIG didn’t fail because of the economic philosophy of the last eight years. Alan Greenspan goosed the markets by expanding the money supply while Clinton was president and Ben Bernanke has further loosened monetary policy since. Second, that “unprecedented step” was taken with the American International Group.

UPDATE – Upset Obama admirers should note two things. First, a 116 IQ still indicates an intelligence that is well above average. It’s hardly an insult. Second, I am not a Republican, much less a McCain supporter, and have never even voted for a Republican for president.

UPDATE II – Obama graduated from my mother’s alma mater, where everyone takes the various college prep tests. He was not a National Merit Scholar, a National Merit Semifinalist or an Outstanding Participant. This indicates a ceiling on his SAT percentile at 96.9, which indicates a maximum possible SAT score of 1230 and maximum IQ of 129.

High CEO pay is not capitalism

Nor is it a reflection of the free market. Nicolas Kristof correctly hammers the corporate pirate crew:

But one of our broad national problems is rising inequality, and it is exacerbated by corporate executives helping themselves to shareholders’ cash. Three decades ago, C.E.O.’s typically earned 30 to 40 times the income of ordinary workers. Last year, C.E.O.’s of large public companies averaged 344 times the average pay of workers…. “Compare the massive destruction of wealth for shareholders to what he gets at the end of the day,” said Lucian Bebchuk, the director of the corporate governance program at Harvard Law School. A central flaw of governance is that boards of directors frequently are ornamental and provide negligible oversight….

These Brobdingnagian paychecks are partly the result of taxpayer subsidies. A study released a few weeks ago by the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington found five major elements in the tax code that encourage overpaying executives. These cost taxpayers more than $20 billion a year.

Absurdly high CEO pay, which we have recently seen has absolutely nothing to do with actual corporate performance and may in fact be a reasonable predictor of future disaster, isn’t comparable to stratosphereic athletic salaries. In the case of the athlete, the well-compensated individual is responsible for creating much of the value. In the case of the CEO, they are usually skimming off the value.

Those who have never sat on a corporate board or had much contact with the executive class don’t realize that the executive class is largely parasitical; they are the remoras on the capitalist shark. Their power is the result of government interference in the free markets, which among other things forces families to sell their capital assets due to the inheritance tax and causes firms seeking investment to work with a very small number of favored Wall Street entitities if they wish to find funding. And, of course, one can’t hope to find funding without first installing a properly “professional” executive team and corporate board….

The executive class is not, for the most part, capitalist, it can be more accurately understood as a sort of pirates union that is loosely allied in common cause against the capitalists who actually own the companies that they are systematically pillaging under the guise of “managing” them. Until this distinction between executives and owners is properly understood by the American people, the irresponsible rape-and-pillage will continue to the detriment of the shareholders, the employees, the economy and even the government.