Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bill Bain Speaks: ‘The Unfair Attacks Are Not Worth Responding To’

Mitt Romney’s oldest mentor, Bill Bain—the founder of Bain & Co. and Bain Capital—defends his company and dismisses political attacks.

Since the presidential campaign began, tens of millions of dollars have been spent heaping dirt on Bill Bain’s name. Bain Capital—the investment firm envisioned by Bain and led by his protégé, Mitt Romney—is likely the most-attacked private company in the history of American politics.

William Bain and Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney with William Bain Jr. in 1990 at Bain’s office in Boston. (Justine Schiavo / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

But since the salvos against Romney and Bain began during the primaries, the firm’s founders—and especially, the highly private Bill Bain—have held their tongues. Indeed, the 75-year-old Tennessean, creator of the consulting juggernaut Bain & Co.  and one of the most influential businessmen of his generation, has rarely talked to the press. No man has been more important to Romney’s ascendance, or his private-sector narrative.

Now, speaking exclusively to The Daily Beast, Bain has, for the first time, defended Bain Capital’s record, and sharply dismissed criticism of the firm. “The unfair attacks are not worth responding to,” he said.
Among those attacks: Texas governor Rick Perry has accused Mitt Romney and Bain Capital of “vulture capitalism” and Obama adviser David Axelrod dubbed Romney a “corporate raider.” On Thursday, Workers Voice, a major union super PAC, released an ad branding Romney an “economic traitor." And in August, the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA released an ad in which Joe Soptic, a Missouri steelworker, linked his wife’s death to Bain Capital’s closure of his plant.

In response, Romney claims that Bain Capital created more than 100,000 jobs during his 15 years as CEO. That record is central to the Romney campaign’s “turnaround artist” narrative. In August, Romney wrote in The Wall Street Journal that “Bain Capital … succeeded by growing and fixing companies,” and that he would “put that experience to work to get our economy back on track.”

Critics have questioned that argument, and its jobs math. They point to leveraged Bain buyouts and layoffs, and argue that the purpose of private equity is to deliver shareholder value, not paychecks.
As Bill Bain puts it, “Bain Capital was founded in 1984 to create value. The founding partners took risk in starting this venture, but succeeded in raising their first fund and in investing it well to create value for their investors.”

Bain pioneered the firm’s strategy of information and management-driven investing. Along with founding partners Romney, T. Coleman Andrews III, and Eric Kriss, Bain re-imagined private equity around key principles of management consulting: a wonky, business-school approach that proved profitable. Bill Bain had been Romney’s personal and professional mentor, and aggressively recruited the young consultant to lead his novel investment experiment. As one former Romney colleague, Bill Achtmeyer, wrote in Monday’s Boston Globe, “Two men can lay claim to the success of Bain: Bill Bain for starting it, and Mitt Romney for saving it.”

When Bain & Co., the aging parent, was on the verge of death in 1990, Bill Bain once again turned to Romney, now to take over the company he had built. Romney returned as interim CEO, for a salary of $1. After a radical restructuring—and a round of debt-forgiveness from the FDIC—the consultancy survived. Romney returned to Bain Capital, while Bill Bain left the company for good.

Bill Bain and his wife, also named Ann, reside in Naples, Fla.: a sunny, seaside hamlet whose residents have contributed more than $1.25 million to the leading Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future. The pair are wine enthusiasts, regular attendees—and occasional hosts and prizewinners—at the popular Naples Wine Festival. (The city’s median household income is above twice the national average.)
A Phi Beta Kappa history graduate and Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Vanderbilt University, Bill Bain speaks and writes with PowerPoint-style precision. He prefaced his comments to The Daily Beast with a neat, “I would like to say one thing,” and declined a follow-up interview.

According to donation records at the Center for Responsive Politics, Bill Bain himself has given more than $30,000 to the Republican National Committee, $4,175 each to four state Republican committees, and $5,000 to the Romney campaign itself: the maximum for the primary and the general election. Last week, he was in attendance during Paul Ryan’s Florida fundraising trip.

Bain Capital employees have given $3.25 million to Restore Our Future, $270,000 to the Romney campaign itself—and just more than $43,000 to the Obama campaign.

Bain Capital’s success, as its founder’s words suggest, was measured strictly in shareholder value. And by that metric, the firm did astonishingly well. According to The Wall Street Journal, during Romney’s tenure as CEO from 1984 to 1998, the firm produced about $2.4 billion in gains for its investors, on about $1.1 billion invested.
Some of Romney’s gains came from leveraged buyouts, in which companies acquired by Bain collapsed and filed for bankruptcy. “Business is a risk-reward proposition,” says Bain. “For over 28 years, Bain Capital has invested in many great success stories and some failures.”

“Business is a risk-reward proposition,” says Bain. “For over 28 years, Bain Capital has invested in many great success stories, and some failures.”

Other investor gains came from just those success stories: the lasting ventures Staples, Domino’s Pizza, Sports Authority, and others. Economists continue (PDF) to debate whether private-equity generates value for the real economy, or creates jobs.

Bill Bain tells me that, “most importantly,” Bain Capital “has maintained an overall record of creating significant value for our economy.”

To both its opponents and defenders, Bain Capital is more than a company. Democrats have tried to frame Bill Bain’s innovation as the progenitor of “vulture capitalism.” In this narrative, the firm heralds the 1980s “shareholder revolution,” which gave managers and owners more power to extract fees and dividends from companies, while leaving labor with the short end of the stick.

The firm’s political sensitivity was cast in stark relief this July, as Democrats accused Romney of lying about his date of departure from the company. But even then, Romney’s colleagues stayed silent; the company itself issued a two-sentence statement. A culture of discretion, partly forged by Bain himself, has kept the firm’s money managers out of the campaign’s weeds.

The few former Romney colleagues who have gone public defending Bain Capital’s business model have not always received a warm welcome from the campaign. Ed Conard, a former Bain Capital managing director and major Romney donor, made headlines with a June book that seemed to defend inequality as a natural consequence of competitive capitalism. The Romney campaign refused to comment. George Gilder, the conservative economist and George Romney ghostwriter, last month lauded Bill Bain and Mitt Romney as epochal supply-siders in The American Spectator. Again, no comment from the campaign.

Breaking his silence 11 days before the election, Bill Bain did not mention his old protégé by name. But, other than Romney himself, no higher authority on Bain Capital has yet defended its business model in such clear, “value”-focused terms—nor so briskly dismissed the attacks.

Private Equity 2012 02
I have got about four pages of pictures.  Tried to find some that show human expression, to this disaster.

Hurricane Sandy, Mantoloking Rd., Brick, NJ

Hurricane Sandy view from Mantoloking Rd. Brick, 10/31

Hurricane Sandy shows up in Hoboken NJ. Winds and rain are starting to pickup.


New York City

Taken on Oct 31. Two days after Hurricane Sandy. Shot from Hoboken NJ. HDR, 19 frames stitched in Photoshop CS5.

By Talk Radio News Service 

Photo by Dan Patterson
Governor Chris Christie talks with first responders from Avalon Fire Department while surveying Hurricane Sandy damage in Avalon, N.J. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

A homeless woman packs her belongings under the heavy rain on a street in downtown Washington DC, October 29, 2012. Hurricane Sandy intensified as it roared toward the US East Coast, bringing New York, Washington and other major cities to a virtual standstill, amid warnings of life-threatening floods. TOPSHOTS / AFP PHOTO / MLADEN ANTONOV
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 29: A fire fighter speaks to a colleague while cleaning up damage caused by Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012 in New York, United States. Hurricane Sandy, which threatens 50 million people in the eastern third of the U.S., is expected to bring days of rain, high winds and possibly heavy snow. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the closure of all New York City will bus, subway and commuter rail service as of Sunday evening Andrew Burton/Getty Images/AFP
By niXerKG
The effects of Hurrican Sandy on Chicago's lake front. 
This crazy bicyclist decided to bike down the path that is being hit by strong waves caused by hurricane Sandy.
These geese weren't trying to land in front of me but the wind due to hurricane Sandy kept them from flying too far ahead.
The remnants of Hurricane Sandy blew through Chicago this afternoon. Some waves were big; some were huge; and a few were truly massive. I'm pretty sure that this one falls in the last category.
I wasn't the only one out there trying to get pictures of the massive waves. This brave young photographer was apparently working on a new photographic genre: macro storm photography.

Sandy at Sunset

My thoughts are with everyone who is struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
People wait in line to fill containers with gas at a Shell station in Edison, New Jersey, on Tuesday. Superstorm Sandy left much of Bergen County flooded and without power. 
People wait in line to fill containers with gas at a Shell station in Edison, New Jersey, on Tuesday. Superstorm Sandy left much of Bergen County flooded and without power.A resident walks down a street covered in beach sand due to flooding from Hurricane Sandy in Long Beach, New York on Tuesday. A resident walks down a street covered in beach sand due to flooding from Hurricane Sandy in Long Beach, New York on Tuesday.Ted Wondsel, owner of Ted's Fishing Station in Long Beach, assesses the damage to his business Tuesday.Ted Wondsel, owner of Ted's Fishing Station in Long Beach, assesses the damage to his business Tuesday.  

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XL

By Steve Benen -

Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:23 PM EDT

Getty Images

A joke made the rounds this week, which resonated with me. It goes like this: a man dies, goes to heaven, stands before St. Peter, and see a huge wall of clocks. The man asks what all the clocks are for and St. Peter explains, "These are lie clocks. Everyone on earth has a lie clock. Every time a person lies, the clock hands move."

Pointing to one, the man says, "Whose clock is that?"

"That's Mother Teresa's," St. Peter answers. "The hands have never moved, indicating she never told a lie."

"Incredible," the man responds. "And whose clock is that?"

St. Peter responds, "That's Abraham Lincoln's. The hands moved twice telling us he told two lies in his entire life."

"Where is Mitt Romney's clock?" the man asks.

"Romney's clock is in Jesus' office," St. Peter says. "He's using it as a ceiling fan."

It's obviously just a joke, but it reinforces an increasingly common observation about Romney's casual relationship with the truth. Consider, for example, the 40th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.

1. At an event in Defiance, Ohio, last night, Romney told voters, "I saw a story today, that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China."

Even by Romney standards, this was a rather brazen falsehood.

2. At a campaign event in Reno, Nevada, Romney said President Obama has been "unable to communicate an agenda" for a second term.

The day before, Obama published a 20-page agenda for a second term.

3. At the same event, Romney said, "The idea that the president would cut Medicare for current seniors ... is something which I don't think the American people understand."

The notion that Obama is cutting Medicare for current seniors is ridiculously untrue. Indeed, Obama is expanding benefits, not cutting them.

4. Romney added, "I will get America to finally be on track to a balanced budget."

No he won't. Romney's plan slashes tax rates (which makes the deficit worse, not better), increases defense and entitlement spending (which makes the deficit worse, not better), and every independent analysis reaches the same conclusion: Romney's numbers don't add up.

5. Romney also argued, "If I'm elected -- when I'm elected -- we're going to finally get this housing market going."

The housing market is currently seeing its strongest gains in several years. Romney, meanwhile, has said he intends to deliberately avoid any efforts to curtail foreclosures.

6. Romney said, "Under President Obama, you really don't have a jobs plan."

Romney doesn't have to like the American Jobs Act, but he shouldn't get away with brazenly lying about its existence.

7. Romney went on to say, "Paul Ryan and I have a plan with five simple steps. These steps are going to get America's economy just cooking again."

The five-point plan -- oil drilling, trade, privatizing K-12 education, vague assertions about debt reduction, and ambiguous promises about doing nice things for small businesses -- is a rehash of Bush/Cheney promises. No credible analysis of the vague agenda has found it capable of boosting the economy.

8. At a campaign event in Henderson, Nevada, Romney blamed Obama for the "doubling of the gasoline prices you're paying."

This is wildly misleading. It's true that when Obama took office, gas cost about $1.81 a gallon, and it's more than double now. And how did gas prices get so low in late 2008 and early 2009? Because there was a global economic catastrophe -- gas was cheap because the economy had fallen off a cliff, and demand crawled to a stop. As the economy improved, demand went up, and the price of gas started climbing. It's Economics 101.

9. At the same event, Romney said, " We're gonna crack down on cheaters when they steal our jobs through unfair trade practices like China, we'll crack down. He has not."

Yes he has.

10. In a television ad debuted this week, Romney says a second Obama term would mean "the debt will grow from $16 trillion to $20 trillion."

If Romney's elected and the Ryan budget plan is implemented, the debt will grow from $16 trillion to $20 trillion.

11. In the same ad, Romney adds that if there's a second Obama term "20 million Americans could lose their employer-based health care."

No. Millions may get different insurance, but they'll have better and more secure coverage, not nothing. By Romney's reasoning, if you replace your old, unreliable car with a new one, you've lost your car.

12. Also in the ad, Romney says in a second term for the president, "taxes on the middle class will go up by $4,000."

That's absurd.

13. In the same ad, Romney whines about "$716 billion in Medicare cuts that hurt current seniors."

This is deeply silly. Obama strengthened the Medicare system's finances by reducing payments to insurance companies and hospitals. Benefits for seniors have been expanded, not cut.

14. In this week's debate in Boca, Romney argued, "Syria is Iran's only ally in the Arab world. It's their route to the sea."

Iran doesn't share a border with Syria, and Iran already borders two bodies of water.

15. Romney also said, "We need to have strong allies. Our association and connection with our allies is essential to America's strength. We're the great nation that has 42 allies and friends around the world."

The United States has more than 42 allies and friends around the world.

16. Romney argued, "When the students took to the streets in Tehran and the people there protested, the Green Revolution occurred. For the president to be silent I thought was an enormous mistake."

Obama wasn't silent, and the comment continues to reinforce suspicions that Romney is incapable of thinking strategically when it comes to foreign policy.

17. Romney also said, "The president said by now we'd be at 5.4 percent unemployment."

That's a favorite GOP talking point, but the president never said this.

18. "As a matter of fact, Latin America's economy is almost as big as the economy of China."

As a matter of fact, that's really not true.

19. Reflecting on his education record, Romney boasted, "While I was governor, I was proud that our fourth graders came out number one of all 50 states in English and then also in math, and our eighth graders number one in English and also in math -- first time one state had been number one in all four measures. How did we do that? Well, Republicans and Democrats came together on a bipartisan basis to put in place education that focused on having great teachers in the classroom."

At a minimum, this is wildly misleading. It's true that policymakers from both parties instituted effective education reforms that improved Massachusetts schools, but this was done many years before Romney took office.

20. Romney argued, "Come on our website, you'll look at how we get to a balanced budget within eight to 10 years."

Aside from some vague platitudes, there is no balanced-budget plan on Romney's website. There's a good reason for that -- his numbers don't add up.

21. Romney went on to say, "We [balance the budget] by getting, by reducing spending in a whole series of programs. By the way, number one I get rid of is Obamacare. There are a number of things that sound good but, frankly, we just can't afford them."

This is incoherent and absurd. "Obamacare" cuts the deficit to the tune of about $109 billion over the next decade. It's simply incoherent to say you'll cut the deficit by eliminating a law, which would in turn increase the deficit. That's like promising to put out a fire by using more kerosene.

22. Romney argued, "I was in the world of business for 25 years. If you didn't balance your budget, you went out of business."

That's both untrue and ridiculous. Businesses operate in the red all the time, and take out loans for capital improvements, expansions, acquisitions, etc. If Romney's background is in the private sector, how could he not know this?

23. Romney also said, "I went to the Olympics that was out of balance, and we got it on balance."

In context, Romney made it sound as if he balanced the Olympics' books through skill. In reality, he balanced his budget at the Olympics thanks to a massive taxpayer bailout, the largest in U.S. history for any Olympic games.

24. Romney argued, "Our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917."

Oh, please.

25. Romney added, "[T]he president began what I've called an apology tour."

This is what I've called Romney lying.

26. Romney also said, "[T]he president said he was going to create daylight between ourselves and Israel."

There's simply no record of Obama ever saying that or anything like it.

27. Romney argued, "I look around the world, I don't see our influence growing around the world."

There's ample evidence that respect and support for the United States around the world has improved under Obama.

28. Romney added, "Is al Qaeda on the run, on its heels? No."

Sure it is.
9. Romney complained about "our decision to cut back on our military capabilities -- a trillion dollars."

Romney appears to be referring to cuts, which have not yet kicked in, and which were crafted, not by the White House, but by Romney's own party. They were also endorsed and supported by his own running mate.

30. In reference to the rescue of the American auto industry, Romney argued, "I said they need, these companies need to go through a managed bankruptcy, and in that process they can get government help and government guarantees."

That is absolutely not what he said.

31. Romney went on to say, "I want to invest in research. Research is great. Providing funding to universities and think tank, great. But investing in companies? Absolutely not. That's the wrong way to go."

We know Romney doesn't mean this because, as governor, he invested in companies all the time.

32. Romney added we're "heading towards Greece."

For those who have even a passing familiarity with the Greek crisis, this is painfully untrue.

33. Romney argued, "I'll get people back to work with 12 million new jobs."

Putting aside the pesky detail that Romney doesn't actually have a specific jobs plan, the claim about 12 million jobs has been definitely proven fraudulent. His own economic advisor was forced to concede the candidate's -- and the campaign's -- talking point was based on a falsehood.

34. Romney also said, "I was in a state where my legislature was 87 percent Democrat. I learned how to get along on the other side of the aisle."

No he didn't.

35. At a campaign event in Daytona Beach, Florida, Romney promised, "If I am elected, we're going to reduce taxes on middle income Americans."

There's ample reason to believe the exact opposite -- independent budget analysts have concluded that once Romney slashes taxes on the wealthy, increases defense spending, increases entitlement spending, and cuts corporate tax rates, all while promising to balance the budget, he'll have no choice but to ask more from the middle class. Indeed, there's no other way for Romney to keep his other promises.

36. "Look, the president wants to fundamentally transform America. He's making us more and more like Europe. I don't want to become Europe."

The irony is, Europe is trying to grow through austerity, just as Romney intends to do here. He's lying in a self-refuting sort of way.

1984 Bain Capital money photo captured Romney on eve of major success

By , Published: June 19


Boston — The seven Bain Capital founders believed they were so destined to make millions that the young men posed for a photo on the grand marble staircase of Boston’s Copley Place with $10 and $20 bills popping out of their shirt collars, tucked behind their eyeglasses and clutched in their teeth.
Their confidence was warranted. One went on to run an airline, another to buy a basketball team, and another to oversee two health-care companies and build custom roadsters.
Their leader, Mitt Romney, went on to become governor of Massachusetts and this year’s likely Republican presidential nominee.

At the 1984 photo shoot, Romney and his partners were celebrating not only their new company but also the ethos of their era. They had just given up their jobs as consultants at Bain & Co. to start Bain Capital with one overarching goal: to create wealth. They were, to use a favorite Romneyism, “dreamers.”
Nearly three decades later, the black-and-white snapshot captures a moment when Romney was about to become wildly successful in business, giving him the resources and a critical credential for entering national politics.

One of the fun highlights of the new issue of Bloomberg Businessweek (The Interview Issue) is that Romney finally speaks about this photograph—I believe for the first time.

Here’s the exchange: 
BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK: When you look at it now, does that photo of you and your Bain colleagues posing with money in your pinstripe suits make you laugh or make you cringe?

ROMNEY: Oh, that was a moment of humor as we had just done what we thought was impossible. We had raised $37 million from other people and institutions who entrusted us with their funds, and we thought it was a miracle that our group had been able to be so successful in fundraising. And ultimately we were able to yield for them a very attractive return by such investments as Staples, which was in our very first fund.

BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK: So it’s a happy memory.

ROMNEY: We had a great group of people, each one of whom I think of fondly.

Yet the photo also embodies one of Romney’s challenges as a candidate: his wealth.
President Obama has seized upon his challenger’s position at the apex of American capitalism to portray him as elite and out of touch.
“We’re the poster children for class warfare now,” said Geoffrey S. Rehnert, one of the seven partners in the photograph. “That’s something I never anticipated.” Rehnert and other partners said they are unhappy about the politicization of the image. One of Romney’s mentors called the shot “tacky” and “inappropriate.”
The cocky assurance that Romney and his buddies displayed in the photo belied their youth and inexperience. Romney, then 36, was a success by any measure. He had risen through the Bain ranks quickly, and he was earning a good living and raising five sons.
Running Bain Capital was the biggest challenge yet in his career, and he approached it cautiously and gradually, with the same careful evaluation and reliance on analytics that would characterize his political campaigns and term as governor.
“We put Mitt in charge,” said Patrick Graham, a mentor of Romney’s at Bain & Co. “He’s an outstanding guy. He’s a leader. He didn’t have any financial expertise, by the way. But we just wanted to give him a bigger challenge.”

‘Driven for success’
When Bain Capital was started, the seven founding partners took pay cuts and pooled much of their savings to invest in the firm. They wouldn’t see a return for at least two years, and they say they feared failure. As one of Romney’s partners said, only half-joking, the money they were holding up in the 1984 photo was all they had.
“We were excited about the prospects, but it was scary,” said Robert F. White, one of the co-founders, who would become one of Romney’s closest friends. “We were making a big bet, we still had student loans, and we had very little money to invest.”
Scarier still, they were all rookies. They had excelled as young consultants advising companies on management decisions, but none had worked on Wall Street. “We came in cold,” Rehnert said.
“They weren’t financial guys,” Graham said. “They had their own language: ‘cash cows,’ ‘experience curves,’ ‘market definition and market segmentation,’ ‘relative competitive performance.’ ”
Still, they were ambitious. They were the stars of Bain & Co., a consulting machine that guided companies on strategy and operations. They charged their clients healthy fees but grew frustrated watching clients heed their advice to generate profits that were many times what they paid Bain.
So, they figured, why not become their own clients? The consulting partners at Bain & Co. would pool their money, as well as money from wealthy investors and institutions such as universities and pension funds, to buy struggling companies or invest in new ones. They would apply their management acumen to retool companies to maximize profits. Then they would reap the rewards. It was a new field: private equity.
“Most of the people in the venture-capital and private-equity world had finance backgrounds, they had come from banks, and they did a good job finding opportunities and doing financial restructuring,” White said, “but very few people had operating backgrounds to help improve the companies.”
Steven N. Kaplan, a professor at the University of Chicago who studies the private-equity industry, said Bain Capital was a pioneer because it was the first firm to apply “strategic insight that the financial engineers didn’t have.”
“That turned out to be absolutely correct, because everybody else today does what they started doing 20 to 25 years ago,” Kaplan added.
Bill Bain tapped Romney, one of his firm’s top consultants, to lead the new venture. Six years earlier, Romney was a prize recruit; Graham flew to Florida to urge Romney’s father, George, a former Michigan governor and presidential candidate, to let Romney join Bain. Now, they were trying to persuade Romney to leave his comfortable consulting perch to start something new.
“We knew he was a high-profile guy,” Graham continued. “He could do anything he wanted to, and we wanted to keep him, frankly. We offered him this job, and I was half-surprised he took it.”
Romney did not want to risk his position or reputation at Bain & Co. with what he considered an experiment, so he privately negotiated a sort of golden parachute with Bill Bain. If Bain Capital failed, Romney was guaranteed to return to his former consulting job and receive his old salary — plus any raises he had missed.
With his escape hatch in place, Romney was in, and he began a year-long study of the business and assembled a team of fellow Bain consultants to join him. His senior partner would be T. Coleman Andrews III, whom Romney had hired as a young associate at the consulting firm five years earlier. Like Romney, Andrews came from a prominent political family; his grandfather, T. Coleman Andrews of Virginia, ran for president in 1956 on the States’ Rights ticket.
Romney chose Eric A. Kriss, a bookish Californian who had recently made partner, to help run the venture-capital arm of the new company. And he picked White, a charismatic son of a machinist who grew up in working-class Woburn, Mass., and was the first in his family to graduate from college, to handle the private-equity side. A trio of younger consultants — Joshua Bekenstein, Fraser Bullock and Rehnert — rounded out the team.
“My father went broke on a farm in southern Canada,” Bullock said. “That’s the kind of heritage that many of us came from. But a common heritage was that we were all driven for success. . . . You’re driven to make sure that you can return money, hopefully a very nice profit, to your investors.”

‘A moment of giddiness’
Soon after starting Bain Capital, the seven founding partners gathered at Copley Place in downtown Boston to pose for a new brochure promoting the firm’s first fund. At the end of a long, stiff shoot for a formal portrait, the partners took a silly outtake holding up dollar bills, several of the partners recalled in interviews. The photographer gave copies to each of them as a memento, but the photograph was never published or widely distributed.
But years later, as Romney pursued the presidency, the photo surfaced on the front page of the Boston Globe, part of the newspaper’s 2007 biographical series about Romney. Most executives at Bain & Co., the parent consulting company, did not know it existed until they saw it in the Globe, Graham said.
“I was stunned when I saw it,” said Graham, who was not in the picture. “I was upset. I thought it was tacky. I thought it was inappropriate. They must’ve done it in a moment of giddiness.”
The photograph depicts the Bain culture — which the partners described as staid, strict and as purposefully un-Wall Street as the consultancy’s Tennessee-born founder, Bill Bain — as the epitome of the ostentatious world of high finance.
Robert Shrum, a longtime Democratic strategist who advised the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) in his 1994 race against Romney, said of the photo that “we certainly would have used it had we had it.” Shrum called it “an iconic image of what could be perceived of greed or a total focus only on the bottom line and making a buck. That’s why it’s so powerful. It’s iconic.”
Over the past year, super PACs supporting Obama as well as Romney’s GOP primary rival Newt Gingrich used the image in attack ads, and the photo has been featured prominently on cable news shows and magazine covers.
Romney, who declined to be interviewed for this article, told Fox News last year that he long expected that the Democrats would use it against him. “I know that’ll be used — I know that. It’ll be fun,” he said, adding that he and his partners were “just celebrating” their early successes.
In the three decades since starting Bain Capital, the founders have maintained their network. Four of Romney’s six partners have donated to his campaigns, together giving at least $56,000 since he began plotting a presidential run in 2006, according to federal records.
Bekenstein, the only founding partner still at Bain Capital, remains a friend and supporter of Romney’s, but records show that he also gave $2,500 to Obama’s campaign in 2011 and has given tens of thousands of dollars to other Democrats.
Others have worked for Romney in different capacities. When he ran the 2002 Winter Olympics, he selected Bullock, a fellow Mormon, to be his No. 2. And when he was governor, Romney recruited Kriss to be his secretary of administration and finance.
None is closer to Romney than White, a trusted corporate wingman who has become Romney’s political alter ego. When he’s not keeping Romney company on the campaign trail, White is in his second-floor office at Romney’s headquarters strategizing with advisers or cheering up exhausted staff members — a part-owner of the Boston Celtics, he is known to dispense free tickets — or taking on sensitive tasks, such as the January release of Romney’s tax returns.

‘Success stories’
The founders came to Bain from different backgrounds, yet they were a homogenous group. Each was white and male, and by 1994, a decade after the company started, there were still no black or Hispanic employees among the 40 professionals and eight support staff members, the Boston Globe reported at the time.
Romney tried to import the culture of Bain & Co. — an insular firm where clean-cut “Bainies” wore starched white shirts and red power ties, sang company songs and were known for their secrecy — to the private-equity start-up.
“It was completely different than Wall Street — I mean the opposite, not just subtle differences,” Graham said of the consulting firm. “If you were a self-aggrandizing, competitive person trying to take credit, we just fired you.”
Romney and the other founders were so secretive that they sometimes joked that they were in the CIA. At first, some recalled, they didn’t carry business cards or give out their phone numbers. They did not speak about their work on airplanes, lest another passenger overhear too much.
“It’s a culture focused on excellence, on winning and very high ethics. They wanted to make money, they wanted to create success stories and make an impact,” said Tom Stemberg, who came to Bain Capital seeking help starting an office-supplies superstore. Staples would would become one of Bain’s first success stories.
When Romney and his partners collected money for the first fund, they raised millions from Bain & Co. employees but were turned down by many of the nation’s richest families and trusts. Harry Strachan, a Bain & Co. consultant based in Costa Rica, suggested that Romney’s team look overseas — specifically to oligarchic families he knew in Ecuador, El Salvador and Panama.
Romney feared that some of the families were linked to the drug trade or to guerrilla groups, according to the Boston Globe, but Strachan vouched for the individual investors and, in 1984, Romney flew to Miami to meet them and deliver them his pitch.
“We investigated the individuals’ integrity and looked for any obvious signs of illegal activity and problems in their background, and found none,” Romney told the Globe in 1994. “We did not investigate in-laws and relatives.”
The Latin Americans contributed about $6 million of the $38 million that made up the first Bain Capital fund, according to the Globe.
With the fund raised, Romney and his partners had to decide what to do with the money. They spent more than a year sifting through hundreds of pitches, from the goofy (an idea for packaged peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches that could last on supermarket shelves for up to five years) to the serious (an airline that chartered military flights).
Most proposals were tossed aside after a cursory review, but those that piqued a partner’s interest received intense scrutiny. After researching the idea, the partner would present the proposal at a weekly Bain Capital Business Review meeting.
BCBRs could be torturous, some partners recalled, with Romney treating them like a prosecutor. They grew so heated that Romney often would sweat through his shirts. He would cross examine the presenting partner and ask another partner to play devil’s advocate. Any of the seven could veto a proposal.
“What we prided ourselves on was doing deeper due diligence than anybody else,” Bullock said.
This was a room full of strong-willed egos, but Graham said fights were rare, at least in the founding years. “This is survival,” he said. “This is like being in a military unit being shot at by the enemy. You’re either all winners or you’re all losers. You pull together. These guys liked each other. They’re not out there rearranging the deck chairs to see who gets the better view, because it wasn’t guaranteed to succeed. The fear of failure was a real motivator.”

Betting their careers
By the summer of 1986, Romney and his team had settled on their first major purchase: Calumet Coach, a company that built custom vehicles to transport large and fragile CAT scan and MRI units. But before investing $1 million to buy the company, Romney and Rehnert toured the factory in Calumet City, Ill., near the Indiana border.
Over dinner the night before, as Rehnert recalled, Romney asked him, “Are you ready to bet your career on this?”
Rehnert said he gulped and told his boss he didn’t have much to lose.
“Good,” Romney replied, “because we’re all betting ours on this. It’s our first buyout.”
The next morning, during the tour, Calumet’s head of manufacturing gave Romney and Rehnert a puzzled look and asked, “You guys really bought this thing?”
“Mitt says, nervously, ‘Yeah, why?’ ” Rehnert recalled.
Then the factory chief pointed to the trucks lined up on the floor and said the previous owner made the workers paint the names of customers on them, but nobody was really buying the vehicles. “There’s no customers for these,” Rehnert recalled him saying. “I can’t believe you bought this company.”
“I thought Mitt was going to have a heart attack,” Rehnert recalled. “He looked over at me like he was going to kill me, like I had been snookered. Then the guy burst out in a big grin and said, ‘I’m just kidding!’ ”
There were more than enough customers. Bain Capital’s $1 million investment paid off spectacularly. Two years later, the company sold Calumet Coach for $34 million, giving the founders a taste of the wealth their new venture would generate.

Found some Flickr Pic's with personal views. Enjoy

I know I said no  more pic, but I found these with a human touch, not a news photographer.


 Uploaded on Oct 30, 2012
Jackson Heights, Queens the morning after Hurricane Sandy passed over NYC.

Rain, Flood and Roosters. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic


Midtown Reflection. Butts and sky.


  Mike Druckenbrod


Hurricane Sandy saying hello to the Kitty Hawk Pier

Picture taken Saturday October 27 as Hurricane Sandy approaches. This is the Kitty Hawk Pier that is currently on the storm news from The Weather Channel.
Unfortunately my Outer Banks photo shoot had to end a couple days early as we decided to "Get out of Dodge"


A Hurricane Sandy rain band over the town of Kitty Hawk NC

Looking south from the Kitty Hawk Pier. This was shot near mid-day, Saturday October 27, 2012.

By Hazboy Ricky

A picture of the Seaside (NJ) amusement pier before Hurricane Sandy (part 1 of 2)

I took this picture when Tricia visited me last year from Colorado. I had not been to Seaside in a few years and coming back here with her brought back a lot of great memories. I spent a lot of time here as a kid, and in my teens and twenties. Besides the rides, there is a long boardwalk with the arcade games, the ice creams and custards and the seaside bars if you want to have a beer while enjoying a beautiful summer day or night.
This pier is now gone. It went into the ocean overnight. Look at the white building on the right look at the next picture.
I took this picture from the boardwalk which overlooks the beach. You will see in the next photo what part of the boardwalk now looks like after Sandy pushed through

A picture of the Seaside (NJ) amusement pier after Hurricane Sandy (part 2 of 2)
There is nothing more to say. I got choked up just comparing my previous picture of what it looked like just yesterday and for years before.
Now that pier (and much of the Seaside Boardwalk) is damaged or completely gone.

 By Lou Prosperi 3rd.


The rise of the Toms River after Hurricane Sandy

Amazing shots of the Toms River water rise after Hurricane Sandy about a 1/2 mile down the road from our house. It is very scary to see these images on television over the years, and then have it happen in your own town!




Hurricane Sandy damage around our community in Beachwood

Pictures of storm damage from around our small community here in Beachwood, New Jersey. These are only a few of the many trees into houses etc.. it was not really safe to ride around at this point too many wires down and other obstacles!


By NYC Streamline


A State Of Emergency Exists In New York City.

Pictured here are downed trees and power lines presenting a serious danger to residents in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Many neighborhoods are still without power, and the death toll is rising as people are found drowned in their own homes - especially in communities located close to beaches and bays which went underwater during the storm's surge.
Subways, buses, bridges, tunnels, schools, businesses, etc. are still closed.
The World's largest Financial District remains shut as portions of Lower Manhattan are still under water.
Seeping gas and exposed electrical wiring has touched off fires in water in neighborhoods throughout the Boroughs.

A State Of Emergency Continues In New York City.
The power of Hurricane Sandy took down this tree, which in turn took down a street light and destroyed several parked cars in Sunnyside, Queens, New York.
The City is still reeling from the effects of this "Superstorm."

Gantry Plaza State Park.
Gantry Plaza State Park, along the Queens side of the East River, in Long Island City, Queens, New York.
For images of this beautiful park prior to sustaining damage from Hurricane Sandy, check Wikipedia: "Gantry Plaza State Park."
This photo was taken before Manhattan lost power below 34th Street.

From Brian's Lens

Hurricane Sandy 04a - Brigantine - North End Seawall
Picture taken from the boardwalk on top of the seawall at the north end of the island at low tide on Sunday afternoon, 36 hours befor Hurricane Sandy is expected to cross over. I expcet now at the time I am posting this that the water is topping the seawall.

Hurricane Sandy 04c - Brigantine - North End Seawall
True to my prediction on my picture from the seawall yesterday, the waves are topping the seawall. This picture was tweeted at 2 pm Monday. But the good news is that there is not much water in the street (yet) despite the picture allegedly showing the water coming around behind the seawall at the end of the street (probably ablut a blick to the left off the frame of this picture.

Hurricane Sandy 07 - Brigantine - Liighthouse Circle
Wicked Awsome picture of what is currently happening in Brigantine. This picture was tweeted at 2 pm on Monday. It is a picture of the new CVS at the Lighthouse Circle in the center of town (the Lighthouse is in the upper left edge of the picture). I suspect that this water is all flooding from the bay which is pretty close to the Lighthouse at this point. Yoiu are looking towards the bay, which is about a block behind the lightouse

photoHurricane Sandy 02a- Aatlantic City & Brigantine - The Calm Before the Storm
View from South end of Brigantine Island towards Atlantic City on Sunday afternoon. The new $2.5 billion Revel casino towers above the northern end of the Boardwalk. This portion of Atlantic City is experiencing major flooding, and parts of the Boardwalk have been sighted floating down Atlantic Avenue

Hurricane Sandy 01c - Brigantine - Absecon Inlet
View over the decks of the two very large houses on Sunset Circle looking out over Absecon Inlet towards Atlantic City during Hurricane Sandy. Their two decks meet in a point at the corner 25 feet from the jetty (breakwater). The white deck (left) is parallel to the ocean, the pink deck (right) is parallel to the inlet. Look at the map to get a sense of how exposed this area is. The wind and waves are usually coming towards the photographer (from that point in Atlantic City, across the inlet, to Brigantine) and that is what you are seeing here.