Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Cab Thoughts 1/4/17

The promise of benefits to a group of people funded by future taxes on  people as yet too young to vote is taxation without representation.--Alaric Phlogiston

To say that we “need to bring back the high-paying jobs this country lost” is to say that we need to bring back the high levels of scarcity this country has since overcome.  It is to say that we need to be made poorer. --Bordeaux

In 1602 the refurbished Bodleian Library at Oxford University was officially opened to the public. In 1610, Sir Thomas Bodley, a wealthy retired diplomat, made an agreement with the Stationers' Company to obtain a free copy of each book printed -- the Bodleian is a reference library, the second largest in England after the British Museum Library -- but made it clear that there would be no shelf space for plays or similar works on "very unworthy matters." This policy changed in time, and of the Bodleian's 50,000 manuscripts today there are many theatrical treasures, including some First Folios of Shakespeare, but all purchased long after the free copies had been rejected.
 Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were shot in the oldest section of the Bodleian, the Duke Humphrey Library. The Duke was one of the first to help finance and stock the Bodleian in its earlier incarnation, in the first half of the 15th century -- this was decades before the library was allowed or forced into ruin and needed Bodley's rescue. He was the youngest son of Henry IV.  The "good Duke Humphrey" was lauded for his patronage to learning, he was a little ambitious on the political side. He and his second wife, Eleanor of Cobham, were caught (or at least accused of) practicing Macbeth -- style witchcraft in order to take over the throne. The Duke hanged for it and Eleanor was banished to the Isle of Man, after first being humiliated by a parade of penance, as she describes here in Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2:
    Methinks I should not thus be led along,
    Mail'd up in shame, with papers on my back,
    And followed with a rabble that rejoice
    To see my tears and hear my deep-fet groans.
    The ruthless flint doth cut my tender feet,
    And when I start, the envious people laugh
    And bid me be advised how I tread.
    Ah, Humphrey, can I bear this shameful yoke?....(from Steve King)
In 1895, physicist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen (1845-1923) became the first person to observe X-rays. X-rays are electromagnetic energy waves that act similarly to light rays, but at wavelengths approximately 1,000 times shorter than those of light.

What is....Pied Piper Strategy?

Conan Doyle had experience as a ship's doctor, the second time on a voyage to Portugal and West Africa in 1881. Aboard with him was Henry Garnet, U.S. consul to Liberia, a learned man, a former slave and a leading abolitionist. Garnet apparently triggered a turnaround in Conan Doyle's estimation of "the latent virtues of the swarthy races." His early opinion "that you abhor them on first meeting them, and gradually learn to dislike them a very great deal more" had, by 1909, evolved to writing The Crime of the Congo, a 45,000 word treatise on the horrors of exploitation and imperialism.

The Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund is failing. The Dallas pension board wants the city to contribute $1.1. billion in 2018. To do that, they would have to increase the property tax rate by 130%.

Samuelson and his successors taught that the economic machine had a gas pedal that could be used to avoid economic slowdowns.  That device was “aggregate demand,” which could be increased by the government’s printing money, running a budget deficit, or both. In this economic subfield, known as macroeconomics, the concept of specialization is forgotten entirely.  Instead, economists employ an interpretive framework in which every worker performs the same job, toiling in one big factory that produces a homogeneous output.  Macroeconomics replaces specialization with that GDP factory.--Arnold Kling

One of the inherent checks in power is that of off-setting responsibility. But Julian Assange has become one of the most powerful political actors in the world, without any responsibilities.

Golden oldie:
Recent conversation with some British about Kate Middleton revealed some interesting observations. She was universally admired as an able ...

Comedian Bill Maher has an interesting take on the election that I think has some merit. On Friday night he said it was wrong for Democrats to have portrayed former Republicans as villains, explaining that they “cried wolf” when it wasn’t necessary.
The “Real Time” host contended Donald Trump, the current Republican presidential nominee, was truly dangerous for America, on the other hand, and the injudicious attacks of other candidates in the past have weakened the impact of attacks now.
“I know liberals made a big mistake because we attacked your boy [President George W. Bush] like he was the end of the world,” Maher told panelist David Frum, a former speechwriter for Bush. “He wasn’t.”
Maher continued: “And Mitt Romney, we attacked that way. I gave Obama a million dollars, I was so afraid of Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney wouldn’t have changed my life that much, or yours. Or John McCain.”
“They were honorable men who we disagreed with. And we should have kept it that way. So we cried wolf. And that was wrong,” Maher said.
But it is hard for the righteous to hold their fire.

After more than 20 years of construction, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is complete and, following in-depth testing, the largest-ever space telescope is expected to launch within two years, NASA officials announced.

I think that elections should be held at one time--a couple of days in a row if necessary--on the same day that taxes are due.

The things you learn from financial sites. Victoria's Secret is having some financial problems. Why? There are some considerable changes going on. One analyst pointed to a decline in breast augmentations as one example of consumers' changing tastes. Roughly 279,000 American women had the surgery in 2015, down from nearly 331,000 three years earlier. It was the third consecutive year that number had fallen.

NYT reporter Patrick Healy, in an e-mail dated Feb. 29, 2016 and released on Nov. 9 by WikiLeaks, asked the Clinton campaign: "We're told that President Clinton (like Mrs. Clinton and some other Dems) thinks that Trump would be a formidable opponent in the general election, and that Dems are in a form of denial if they dismiss Trump as a joke who would be easily defeated in November. President Clinton, like others, thinks that Trump has his finger on the pulse of the electorate's mood and that only a well-financed, concerted campaign portray(ing) him as dangerous and bigoted will win what both Clintons believe will be a close November election."
See: "Pied Piper" below.

The reason rich people are now able to live alongside wildlife in a way that poor people do not is partly because, once liberated from mere subsistence, they can afford to care. It is also because wealth partly decouples the life of human beings from dependence on wild ecosystems. By eating farmed food, moving to cities, using minerals instead of organic materials, we reduce the need to exploit, or compete with, wildlife.--Ridley

One significant result of Clinton's defeat: She promised Supreme Court justices who would reverse Citizens United, compromising the First Amendment by empowering the political class to regulate the quantity, content and timing of campaign speech about itself. Now this will never happen.

Banks are lending about 74% of their deposits vs. their historic 96% rate. Much of this is regulation driven. (The velocity of money is at the lowest rate in 100 years.)

The FBI reportedly operated almost two dozen child pornography websites hidden on the dark web to lure and catch predators.

For more than 30 years, sharia courts enforcing Islamic law have been operating quietly across Britain. But two official inquiries have put them in the spotlight amid accusations that they discriminate against women.
Very little is known about them, even their number, which one study by the University of Reading puts at 30, while the British think tank Civitas estimates there are 85.
Sharia courts or councils, as they prefer to be called, mainly pronounce on Islamic divorces, which today constitute 90 percent of the cases they handle.

Religious courts have existed for hundreds of years in Britain, whether in the Catholic Church or in the Jewish community -- the Beth Din -- notes Amin Al-Astewani, lecturer in law at Lancaster University.
As with sharia councils, the decisions of those bodies are not legally binding, but they represent a strong moral and social constraint for those who use them, he wrote in a submission to the parliamentary inquiry. (Yahoo!)

Salon has an astonishing article on Hillary's "Pied Piper Strategy." This is a sliver but it is worth googling: "In its self-described “pied piper” strategy, the Clinton campaign proposed intentionally cultivating extreme right-wing presidential candidates, hoping to turn them into the new “mainstream of the Republican Party” in order to try to increase Clinton’s chances of winning. The Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee called for using far-right candidates “as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right.” Clinton’s camp insisted that Trump and other extremists should be “elevated” to “leaders of the pack” and media outlets should be told to “take them seriously.”"Sounds like the Russians.

AAAAAnnnnndddddd......a libertarian poster:


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