Saturday, January 21, 2017


Stricken while journeying
my dreams still wander about
but on withered fields. ---Basho

President Trump??!!
Sowell on disparities vs. discrimination: It was fourth down in a National Football League game, and the punting team came onto the field. The other team went into their formation to defend against the punt. Then somebody noticed that the man set to kick the punt was black. "Fake!" one of the defenders cried out. That cry was immediately echoed by others, and the defending team changed their formation, to guard against the kicker either running with the ball or throwing it. But in fact he punted. Sowell notes that there are remarkable racial disparities in professional football punters but asks, is it discrimination? 

The custom of using oak to ferment and age Chardonnay-based wines was developed in Burgundy, home of this grape variety. It is difficult to know precisely when barrels came into use in this region, but it certainly has been common practice for centuries. At first, a watertight wood barrel, in a size one person could manage to roll and tilt, was simply a practical choice. Gradually, techniques were developed, most likely by trial and error, to magnify the contribution of barrel fermentation and maturation. For Chardonnay in Burgundy, this included stirring the lees (b√Ętonnage in French) to enrich the wine. For most of history, wood vats and barrels were reused for many years; now, it is the norm to have a proportion of new wood for every vintage of a premium Chardonnay. Modern winemakers agree as a rule that Chardonnay, which is comparatively neutral in flavor, benefits from contact with wood. At the same time, some producers - by personal choice or to reduce cost - prefer to limit the percentage of new oak, or, in some cases, to avoid it altogether. Fermentation in inert tank is a widespread technique, although a wood imprint may still be obtained with chips or staves. Limiting the added flavors of oak also mimics a particular style of Burgundy Chardonnay, the one associated with Chablis (even there, however, a degree of new oak is now in favor for premier and grand cru wines). The barrel production regime which evolved in Burgundy for Chardonnay is the one normally favored all around the world for this variety, complemented by a handful of "no-oak" styles. -- Bohmrich

Who is....Yoenis Cespedes?

There is a strong argument--in opposition to the Trump declaration--that imports are good for employment, not bad. The increased economic activity associated with every stage of the import process helps support millions of jobs in the U.S.. A Heritage Foundation analysis shows that over half a million American jobs are supported by imports of clothes and toys from China alone.

I recently spoke with an articulate and thoughtful representative of what I see as the Young Left in an effort to assess our divergent views. I was concerned about the increasingly complex society and the government's increasingly obvious difficulty in managing it, the risks to the citizenry engendered by the government's errors, and the value of institutions in sheltering individuals from those errors. She was concerned with the individuals who were vulnerable in society--immigrants, prisoners, gays, the poor--with little voice, great individual risk and few champions. She was willing to trade the theoretical risk for whatever advantage those groups could obtain.
That may just sum it all up.

Good news: Castro is getting a closer, kinder look.
The authoritative Black Book of Communism blames him for 15-17,000 executions. ("Blames" might be a bit too harsh and judgmental.) More speculative estimates put the blood of another 80,000 Cubans on his hands. But these numbers are being prefaced now by "only." Compared to Stalin or Pol Pot, Castro did not kill so many. Now that we have crossed that contextual hurdle, Ted Bundy was a piker.
Remember, we will have no generalities here. Generalities are the root of bigotry. Not all mass murderers are alike; each must be seen and understood as an individual. Each has his very own story.

The “horizon problem”  states that the universe reached a uniform temperature long before energy-carrying photons traveling at constant speed could have had the time to reach all corners of the expanding universe. One solution is that light at the beginning of the universe traveled faster than gravity to distribute the temperature. So light speed would not be a constant.
So...that should give you a headache.

From the LT:
The world has been a disappointment to Mr Obama. When Vladimir Putin’s Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, John Kerry, the outgoing secretary of state, said: “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in a 19th-century fashion by invading another country on [a] completely trumped up pretext.”
But that is how the world often operates. The U.S. had done just that to Iraq in the 21st century.

Golden oldie:
Natural gas is plentiful and cheap. We are now able to recover gas from areas previously unapproachable. The availability has suppressed pri...

In 1947, after Britain, unable to find a solution in the combat between Jewish and Arab forces in Palestine, referred the problem to the United Nations, the U.N. voted to partition Palestine. These world powers thought they were solving the problem. And certainly the British thought they were ducking it.

The Brewers have decided to non-tender power-hitting first baseman Chris Carter rather than take him through his third year of arbitration eligibility. Carter is now a free agent. His is a story of the rising statistical evaluation of players in the Major Leagues. Carter, 29, hit an NL-best 41 home runs this past season while knocking in 94 runs and hitting .222/.321/.499 in 644 plate appearances. However, he was only worth 0.9 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference because he provided little offensive value outside of his ability to hit home runs and he was not a great defender at first base. Carter also led the league with 206 strikeouts.
Carter earned $2.5 million in 2016. It is said that Carter was looking at $9-10 million if he went through the arbitration process with the Brewers.

There is a simple solution for anybody upset over Trump's election: Vote to decrease the size and impact of government. The less power in the office, the less a bad guy can hurt us.

McCloskey on Marx: For example, his foundational labor theory of value was wrong, as every serious student of the matter has agreed for the past century and a half. The Blessed Smith himself had introduced the notion, and it was still believed by such splendid figures as David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill, Mill being a contemporary of Marx. But neither Mill nor Marx had the benefit of the Neoclassical Revolution in the history of economic thought during the 1870s. It developed in the works of Walras, Jevons, and Menger the correct view, confirmed thereafter in a thousand scientific studies, that value is determined by how much people want things, considering the income available, not by how much effort the seller put into the things, and that the wage is determined not by bargaining strength but by the market value of what the last worker produces, considering that free labor is a little mobile.

Speaking on the Portuguese TV network RTP on November 22, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi affirmed his support for the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Come, let us reason together.

On infrastructure projects, Economist Robert Krol writes:  “Research shows that transportation project costs are significantly underestimated and traffic flows tend to be overestimated.  These errors are large and are not random, suggesting they are deliberate in order to get projects started."

Stanley Druckenmiller spoke at the Robin Hood Investors Conference where he repeated he is bullish on the American economy following Trump's victory, anticipates a much stronger dollar and higher bond yields. Notably, he joined Gundlach in predicting 10 Year yields would rise to 6% over the next year or two, a process which would lead to an equity market selloff.


For anyone wondering how small market baseball teams are pressured:  The Mets have re-signed Yoenis Cespedes. The deal is reported to be worth four years and $110 million. It is the largest free agent deal ever handed out by the Mets. Cespedes’ $27.5 million annual average salary is the highest ever for an outfielder on a multi-year deal. Only Miguel Caberea, who averages $31 million a year, has a higher average annual salary than Cespedes will.

Bordeaux commenting on the Left's fondly remembering the legacy of Castro: "It is a perverted code of ethics that causes those who fondly remember the “accomplishments” of blood-thirsty brutes such as Fidel Castro to burst into paroxysms of anger over the alleged evil of off-shoring the production of automobile tires or of accumulating unusually large sums of financial wealth by making entrepreneurial advances in retailing."

“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.  Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century ... While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’ ” This was released by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Is it possible he believes this or is this simply the idiotic, routine public mendacity? And are public lies like this good for popular thinking?

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is concerned over a missing radioactive device from Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor, a Saudi paper reported.

In  almost a parody of what is wrong with the culture and the intrusion of unasked opinions of pompous amateurs into our lives, Rosie O'Donnell has diagnosed Barron Trump with autism. In a similar vein, NYU Professor Greg Grandin, in an article in "The Nation," suggests that Fidel Castro was a better man than Donald Trump and "was a full man of the Enlightenment." Now, I'm no fan of Trump but doesn't this mean that the horrors we know Castro created were not as serious as what Trump might do? Isn't that sort of stupid--even for a professor?

Reflecting on the recount demands, I cannot assess it, aside from the innate drive of these people to continue animosity and division. Even Nixon.....

California State – Northridge economist Robert Krol: “Research shows that transportation project costs are significantly underestimated and traffic flows tend to be overestimated.  These errors are large and are not random, suggesting they are deliberate in order to get projects started. Furthermore, federal highway funding is excessive and misallocated across states.  Project benefits are concentrated in a state or district whereas tax costs are spread out nationwide.  As a result, legislators embrace inefficient transportation projects because district or state voters do not pay the full project cost.  Projects move forward even when the total cost of the project exceeds total benefits.  Also, funding committee membership and vote trading distorts decisions.  Finally, government barriers slow the adoption of new technologies.”
Probably should read that again.

AAAAaaaaannnnnnddddddd........a graph:

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