Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cab Thoughts 1/12/13

“As the saying goes, if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Community organizers like Huerta don’t teach anyone how to fish: they teach activists how to steal their neighbors’ fish. This is what Huerta and her ilk call social justice.” --Matthew Vadum

A recent interview by Stephen Moore with Boehner revealed Obama thinks the debt problem is related to health care costs and health care exclusively. Sort of Ewe Reinholdt on steroids. Apparently he gets testy when people try to blame it on additional causes.

In the Canterbury Tales one of the characters in 'The Squire's Tale' wakes up in the early morning following her 'first sleep' and then goes back to bed. Some researchers believe that, in the absence of artificial light, this sleep pattern where there is a first four hour sleep followed by a meditation-like period then a less efficient second sleep of variable time is the way we would sleep under ideal conditions. But medicine views interrupted sleep as pathological and medicates it when possible.

Hilary's physician used a very peculiar phrase re: her health. He said it would be the same as before. Never heard it phrased that way.

Nissan Motor Co. said it will begin U.S. production of its all-electric Leaf on Thursday in Tennessee as part of a $1.4 billion government loan. Leaf sales were to double last year but were up only 1.5%. A 1.4 billion dollar loan from your friends and neighbors can make up for some shortfall, though.


Oil production in North Dakota is up 52% year to year. In Texas it is 31%. Yet this will mean little to the American consumer because the oil cannot be moved to U.S. sites or is of too high a quality to be refined here. The regulations will not allow either. When one thinks of the complexities we are victims of, this kind of governmental self-induced deprivation is hard to stomach.

Planned Parenthood received $542.4 million in “government health services grants and reimbursements,” including “payments from Medicaid managed care plans.” Their assets are 1.2 billion dollars.

The median household income of Americans in 2011 was $49,103. Adjusted for inflation, the median income is just below what it was in 1989 and is $4,000 less than it was in 2000. This is more than stagnation; this is the erosion of a basic idea in America, that success breeds success. Now it may be we need less. People seem content without cars, or two cars. Electronics seem to make life fuller and perhaps this will make up the difference. But this is happening, not with any real understanding or control, just happening. And the bathoeic politicians who want to rule, see redistribution as a solution. Because all the components in the GDP equations are the same to them.

Apache Corp this month is set to become the first company to power an entire hydraulic fracturing job with engines running on natural gas, cutting fuel costs by about 40 percent.

Panasonic has a new TV called "my home screen" which makes individual suggestions for TV and Internet from your preference history. It has a camera that recognizes you. You can buy a TV with a camera that knows who you are and watches you.i

BYD Co Ltd, a Chinese maker of electric cars and batteries, said that it has received permission from the European Union to sell electric buses in all of bloc's member countries. Buffett bought a big piece of this company because Munger liked it so much. The company has not done well.

So the Americans are too "procedure oriented" in their medical care. Physicians earn more money by doing more work. So, let's do more than not rewarding them for more work, let's reward them for less work. Sort of a medical soilbank; the less you do , the more you earn. Very cost effective.

The sea otter is covered in a sensationally lustrous and soft fur coat that is the densest of any mammal, with as many as one million hairs per square inch. It was originally found by Cook's expedition and brought to China, somewhat by accident, by sailors who used the pelts. Trade developed that, by itself, covered the trip to China and, sometimes, was worth a fortune.

The Justice Department announced it would not prosecute HSBC ( The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation ) for enabling Mexican drug gangs to launder money, and helping Iranian interests to evade U.S. sanctions. Instead, it offered a settlement in which the bank would pay a fine of $1.9 billion—about four weeks’ worth of its pre-tax profits. They said they were concerned about bank and financial stability. Too big to fail, too big to prosecute.

Who was Edmund Ross?

A Nobel Prize winner in economics recently reviewed the disparities between the American and other workers and their working hours. Americans generally work longer and harder. His conclusion: Marginal tax rates. As rates rise, work effort drops. That is not terribly surprising but it is interesting to hear an officially smart person say it.

6% of purchases at Amazon, 15% at EBay and 60% at Walgreen Pharmacy last year were made and paid for with smart phones.

Golden Oldie:

The U.S. won the world Junior Hockey tournament and the goalie, the MVP, was second string on his high school team.

It is estimated that 40% of wolves are killed by attacks by enemy packs. This is a far cry from Konrad Lorenz' thesis that the ability of a species to kill contained a reciprocal demand not to. His thesis raised real anxiety in the 70's as it was felt that hand-to-hand attacks were off-set by inhibition where attack by technology--gun, bomb, arrow--was guilt-free.

Gas generated 30.3% of America's electricity, a sharp increase compared to the 12% in 1990 or 16% in 2000. Coal provided 37.6% of the nation's power, sharp declines from more than 50% 15 years ago, 48% in 2008, and 43% in 2011.

AAAANNNNDDDdddd........a graph. This is not particularly informative as the time divisions are arbitrary but it gives some general idea:

1970s1980s1990s2000s2002-2011Worst One-Year Return
100% stocks/0% bonds5.917.618.2-0.92.9-43.3
70% stocks/30% bonds6.016.515.52.15.2-32.3
50% stocks/50% bonds6.015.513.63.96.5-24.7
30% stocks/70% bonds5.914.511.75.57.7-17.0
0% stocks/100% bonds5.512.
Source: Ibbotson Associates

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