Lieutenant Island Views : Commentary About Finance, Politics and Baseball

Why You Should Hate Brussels Sprouts Rather Than Bankers!

April 17, 2009
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The Daily Deal has an uproarious essay on why we should not vilify bankers any more. They point out that it is just starting to get passé. New villains are needed. Their recommendation; Brussels sprouts!
Their case is absolutely compelling.

While many of you may not read ‘The Deal” on a regular basis, if at all, it is a terrifically well written “trade rag” for the finance industry. They have both a “wicked” sense of humor and social conscience in addition to being excellent reporters (Note: they assist this writer in his teaching at Morehouse College). Check out the article.

Is George Will Un-American or Just an Insufferable Elitist?

April 16, 2009
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In an article/screed today, George Will decries Americans’ love affair with denim and blue jeans. He tells the story of Levi Strauss inventing jeans. He also indicates that, in his entire life, he has owned but one pair which he has only worn once to a party which required that everyone be in jeans. Doesn’t George know that wearing jeans is one thing that virtually all Americans can agree on? They are uniquely American. Created for our early economic development (use by those prospecting for gold), they now are owned by most men, women and children in the nation. Jeans are generally cheap, comfortable and non-determinative of class, social status, education level or other things. Jeans are truly non-discriminatory. Rich, Poor, Blacks, Whites, Native Americans, Asians, Blue Bloods and Immigrants all wear and enjoy jeans. Why does George have a problem. Is it in some way retaliatory for someone telling him that his use of bow ties is “European”? By his own admission, he has virtually no experience as a jeans wearer or owner. For such a Libertarian type of fellow, it is hypocritical to hear him foisting his anti-denim values on the rest of us. Perhaps he should avoid being an arbiter of good taste and focus on subjects for which he is capable of more inciteful and knowledgeable commentary. George, how about another good book on baseball?

Easter, Passover and Real American Values

April 10, 2009
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This weekend American Jews and Christians of various denominations will celebrate high holy days of their respective faiths. As they do so, they should also remember and give thanks to the wisdom our our nation’s founding fathers that they chose to distinguish our nation as one with a clear separation of religion from governmental law. One of the great principles of our nation is that individuals can be free to practice, or not practice, the religion of their choice. To those who would suggest otherwise, we would urge that they re-read their American history.

The attached cartoon and a copy of Thomas Jefferson’s word to Baptist ministers in Danbury, Ct. make clear the values of our founders and the author of the Decration of Independence.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all who celebrate. God bless America to everyone!!

About author

Mr Thaler is currently the Managing Partner of Lieutenant Island Partners, an organization providing corporate finance advice and general consulting to corporations and not-for-profit organizations. Mr Thaler retired as Vice Chairman of Deutsche Bank Securities in early 2008. His background includes experience as an investment banker, senior manager, business builder, college professor, not for profit board chair and trustee. In his thirty plus years as an investment banker for Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers, he has been involved in numerous significant debt and equity financings, mergers & acquisitions, leverage buyouts, restructurings and cross border transactions. Of particular note, Mr Thaler has been one of the most active participants and strategic advisors to the homebuilding industry. In a period of significant turmoil and losses, he was one of the few active bankers to the industry who did not have either a loss or credit write down. He is currently advising several public builders on strategic matters and is an adjunct professor of finance at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Though he lives in New York, he is a life long Red Sox fan!