Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cab Thoughts 2/24/16

"Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists."--Chesterton

John Kerry on "Fox News Sunday" speaking about the non-deal climate deal in Paris: "This mandatory reporting requirement ... is a serious form of enforcement, if you will, of compliance, but there is no penalty for it, obviously." They just say this stuff. The highly praised Iran nuclear agreement might give some insight. Iran's parliament has never approved it. And that the Iranian president has never signed it. Iran is not legally bound to anything. The State Department wrote the deal "is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document." 
Everything these guys do is pretend. One hopes that the Great Climate Change Victory recently in Paris will put an end to our climate anxiety for a while but somehow I doubt it.
Soccer was introduced to Italians in the late 1800s by the British, but it was not until the 1930s under Mussolini that the sport took off on an international level.
In 1881 Oscar Wilde embarked for America and a year-long lecture tour on such topics as "The House Beautiful" and "The Decorative Arts."
His proclaimed mission was "to make this artistic movement the basis for a new civilization. " After one talk in Leadville, a mining town in the Rocky Mountains, he descended ito o mine and opened a new silver vein with a drill. While in the bar that night "with the miners and the female friends of the miners," Wilde noticed the sign "Please don't shoot the pianist; he is doing his best." Back in England, while touring his "Impressions of America," Wilde recalled all this with delight: "I was struck with this recognition of the fact that bad art merits the penalty of death, and I felt that in this remote city, where the aesthetic applications of the revolver were clearly established in the case of music, my apostolic task would be much simplified, as indeed it was."
Who is....Philippe Petain?
There is a problem lurking out there for the ACA. One of the ways government bypasses reality is to shift cost burdens. For example, electric cars are mandated by government edict but, regardless of what their merits might be, are impossible to sell at a profit so they are sold at a loss and the cost made up in SUV pricing. So the SUV buyer is essentially subsidizing the electric car, i.e. paying too much for his SUV. In the ACA, the insurers are losing money. The plan was to pay the insurers back through the general tax fund. But the congress, led by Rubio, outlawed that. That will make the insurer losses real. They will react in some way.

Talking to politicians about the economy is like talking with eight-year-olds about sex. They have heard all the words, but they haven't a clue.--Michael Aronstein
Previous studies have shown that, despite the success of firms like Facebook, the number of startups has dropped sharply, from about 13% of all firms in the late 1980s to about 8% in 2011. Now a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research reports that the expansion of the remaining startups — which traditionally has been much faster than the growth of existing companies — has slowed considerably. By some measures, it now barely exceeds the average of older companies. These are worrisome numbers.

According to some accounts, Truman was inducted into the KKK, though he was "never active." Other accounts claim that though he gave the KKK a $10 membership fee, he demanded it back and was never inducted or initiated. The Internet is like Judgment Day.

There are some curiosities about guns in the U.S. and the attitudes about them. The Left is eager to control gun ownership although the evidence is against its success in reducing crime but opposed to "stop and frisk" despite its success in crime reduction. They are concerned about individual rights regarding "stop and frisk" although it has been approved by the courts but not concerned about the rights question regarding gun control despite all the court decisions against it and even Lawrence Tribe's rejection of it.


In 1924, congress restricted immigration from Asia, reduced the numbers coming from southern and Central Europe, and produced a 40-year moratorium on most immigration into the United States. Its authors and President Coolidge wanted the U.S. to remain a nation whose primary religious and ethnic ties were to Europe, not Africa or Asia. Under FDR, Truman and JFK, this was the law of the land.
Asks Buchanan, "Was that a period of fascism?"
Francois Darlan was admiral of the French fleet in 1939. Upon the surrender of France to the German invaders in June of 1940, Darlan let it be known that he was inclined to sail the fleet to Great Britain, to keep it out of German hands. 
But Darlan was quickly “bought off”: He was made navy minister and then supreme commander of all Vichy French military forces under Philippe Petain’s government. He became a collaborator with the German puppeteers (even passing on to the Germans sensitive U.S. military information that had landed in the French embassy in Washington, D.C.), and, to add insult to injury, ordering most of the French fleet to North Africa to avoid Allied capture. (The Royal Navy at Oran would nevertheless attack it shortly thereafter.) Darlan was eventually convinced to aid the Allies in their invasion of North Africa and he ordered a Vichy-force ceasefire to permit the Allied landings in North Africa to move forward unopposed. Darlan finally signed an armistice with the Allies, folding his Vichy forces into the Free French military. On Christmas Eve, 1942, he was assassinated by Bonnier de la Chapelle, a Charles de Gaulle follower who was training to be a British agent. Despite the help Darlan ultimately provided, the Allies rejoiced. “Darlan’s murder, however criminal, relieved the Allies of their embarrassment at working with him,” admitted Churchill.

"The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change," Secretary of State John Kerry announced after coming out of a meeting with Russian ruler Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday. Less than a month ago, President Obama reiterated his public position, saying Syrian dictator Bashar Assad must go: "I do not foresee a situation in which we can end the civil war in Syria while Assad remains in power."
Is this a sudden, Russian-provoked reversal of policy? Only if you took Obama seriously. Mortifying.
Interesting and I guess important case before the Supreme Court: Evenwel v. Abbott. The basic question in the case, Evenwel v. Abbott, No. 14-940, is who must be counted in creating voting districts: all residents or just eligible voters? Right now, all states and most localities count everyone. Those not eligible  to vote are children, immigrants here legally who are not citizens, unauthorized immigrants, people disenfranchised for committing felonies, and prisoners. It is a curious subset to focus upon and somehow in the discussion the old 3/5 rule shows up, dressed in moral indignation.

Yahoo’s annual Christmas party this year was a Roaring 20s / Great Gatsby theme, complete with champagne towers and a vintage Rolls Royce. The party itself, right down to the theme, was a symbol of waste, indulgence, and excess; it reported costly between $7 and $10 million to stage.

Singularity: n: the state, fact, quality, or condition of being singular. Uniqueness. 2. in physics: a point at which a function takes an infinite value, especially in space-time when matter is infinitely dense, as at the center of a black hole. There is a third, scary meaning, in the technological world: the point where machines improve themselves and/or their products.

Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman
Researchers track Fukushima radiation by focusing on the isotope Cesium-134, which has a half-life of only two years. All Cesium-134 in the ocean likely comes from the Fukushima disaster. In contrast, Cesium-137 – also released in huge quantities from Fukushima – has a half-life of 30 years, and persists in the ocean, not just from Fukushima, but also from nuclear tests conducted as far back as the 1950s. The most recent study added 110 new Cesium-134 samples to the ongoing studies. These samples were an average of 11 Becquerels per cubic meter of sea water, a level 50 percent higher than other samples taken so far. So, how does a 50% increase in West Coast radiation in two years fit into your models?
And, in other atmospheric news, just three months ago, the world's greatest carbon emitter, China, admitted to having under-reported its burning of coal by 17%, a staggering error (assuming it wasn't a deliberate deception) equal to the entire coal consumption of Germany. China promises to begin reducing carbon emissions 15 years from now. India announced it will be tripling its coal-fired electricity capacity by 2030. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is effectively dismantling America's entire coal industry.

AAAAaaaannnnnddddd.......a graph:

Chart of the Day

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