Thursday, January 26, 2017


"Harry, I wouldn't want to exploit you."--Groucho Marx, denying his Communist friend a job.

Students at Oberlin have complained that their dining hall’s choice to serve sushi was “appropriative” and "disrespectful.” At the University of San Francisco, white students wearing their hair in dreadlocks were accused of wrongly appropriating a hairstyle that is supposedly the sole preserve of “black culture.” There has been a cancellation of a yoga class at the University of Ottawa because yoga in North America has supposedly been appropriated from a culture that “experienced oppression, cultural genocide, and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy.”

We have been automating work for two centuries and so far the effect is to create more jobs, not fewer. Farming once employed more than 90% of people, and without them we would have starved. Today, it’s just a few percent. The followers of the mysterious “Captain Swing” who destroyed threshing machines in 1830 were convinced that machines stole work. Instead of which, farm labourers became factory workers; factory workers later became call-centre workers. In both transitions, pay rose and work became safer, less physically demanding and less exposed to the elements.
In 1949, the cybernetics pioneer Norbert Wiener warned that computers in factories could usher in “an industrial revolution of unmitigated cruelty”. In 1964, a panel of the great and the good, including the Nobel prize winners Linus Pauling and Gunnar Myrdal, warned that automation would mean “potentially unlimited output by systems of machines which will require little cooperation from human beings”. This hoary old myth just keeps coming round again and again.--Ridley

While Latino, black and Asian populations continue to grow, soaring death rates among white middle-aged Americans - combined with the fact that white families are having less children - mean certain states are seeing falling Caucasian populations. This weird analysis, that somehow distinguishes "Latinos" from "whites," shows a decline in white births relative to white deaths in the U.S.. The study attributes this change to a silent 'epidemic' of deaths from suicides, drug and alcohol poisoning.

Who is....Rep. Keith Ellison?
Brunello di Montalcino is the highest stage of the marvelous but capricious Sangiovese grape. Italy is usually regarded as a red wine country. Of the dozens of red grape varieties, the two that usually get the most votes as “the best” are Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. The latter of these is the backbone of wines like Chianti and the proprietary “Super Tuscans” from various parts of Tuscany, but it is generally regarded as reaching its highest form of expression in wines from the hillside town of Montalcino in a wine called Brunello. Hence the full name of the wine, Brunello di Montalcino.

A new federal report shows that the government is expected to forgive at least $108 billion in student debt in the coming years.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway has won the World Chess Championship for the third consecutive time after defeating challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia--as well as everyone else in Russia.  Astonishing.
Jared Bernstein in a WashPo essay states that the U.S. trade deficit is “a significant drag on growth and manufacturing jobs.”   For America to run a trade deficit with non-Americans is for America to receive a net inflow of capital from non-Americans. A letter in response asked these questions:
--Does the building of stores throughout America by Ikea, Sony, and other non-American companies impose “a significant drag on growth” in the U.S.?  If so, how?

– Did the $7.1 billion spent by Shuanghui International to buy Smithfield Foods impose “a significant drag on growth” in the U.S.?  If so, how?
– Was the $15.6 billion that the British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca paid a decade ago for Maryland-based MedImmune “a significant drag on growth” in the U.S.?  If so, how?
– When Japan-based Softbank bought the ailing Kansas-based Sprint for $21.6 billion, was there a resulting “significant drag on growth” in the U.S.?  If so, why?
Trump tweeted about prison sentences for flag burners. He received very little criticism for it, presumably because his position is similar to the legal sanctions in a bill on flag burning that Senator Hillary Clinton co-sponsored: the Flag Protection Act of 2005. (it did not pass)

There is a rumor the Homicidal Derangement Syndrome might start using arson of forests as a technique to achieve whatever random violence is supposed to achieve. That will be a bad PR move as it will alienate the Left, who like trees a lot more than they like people.

Trump wants to lower the corporate tax rate to 15%. The idea is that you lower the rate, broaden the base, collect more revenue, and maybe repatriate some of that overseas income. There are trillions--TRILLIONS--there. Apple borrows to pay dividends because it is cheaper than repatriating. But he wants to apply the new rate to not just C corporations but to pass-through entities such as LLCs and S corps and partnerships. So the tax advantages of these entities will fade. Things might not get better, but they will get simpler.

The main point here is that better economic outcomes arise when patterns of sustainable specialization and trade are formed.  These patterns do not come about as a result of tinkering undertaken by the Federal Reserve or by deficit spending undertaken by Congress.  It requires the creative, decentralized, trial-and-error efforts of thousands of entrepreneurs and millions of individuals the best way to use their talents.  Probably the best thing that the government can do to encourage new forms of specialization is to rethink existing policies that restrict competition, discourage innovation, and retard mobility. --Kling
Yet America’s new president-elect seems intent on doubling-down on existing policies that restrict competition, discourage innovation, and retard mobility.

If Trump has his way with taxes, the standard deduction will be $30,000 for married filing jointly, instead of $12,600. Think about the implications. Who pays more than $30,000 of mortgage interest every year? Why itemize deductions? All this running around we do at tax time, collecting receipts and such, could go away for all except the very wealthy. Those tax deduction distortions could start to change.

Golden oldie:

Imagine Rep. Keith Ellison being suggested to be head of the DNC. He has close ties to The Nation of Islam, the creation of the Honorable Elisha Muhammad, the religious gangster and the man who murdered his protégé, Malcolm X, because he became disenchanted with the Honorable Elisha's unnatural attachment to little girls. Now, imagine if Ellison were not a Liberal.

Removing wine spills:
Blot the wine.
Cotton, Linen, Polyester (and most fabrics other than wool or silk): When you are ready to wash the garment, use oxygen bleach alternative and hot water mixed into a container to dip the stain into. To be on the safe side, apply a bit of the solution to an inside hem to test for colorfastness, but this solution is very safe. The stain will probably will disappear immediately–if not, dip again! The stain may turn blue or purple, this is fine! Use a little laundry soap and a brush to remove the color, then launder as usual.
Wool and Silk: Wool and silk are much tougher to remove wine, but it is certainly not impossible. Unlike other fabrics, you really should rinse if you are able. If not, blot with cool plain water. (Using club soda is really no more effective than tap water, so plain water is fine.) When you are ready to wash the garment, start with Dawn dish detergent and vinegar. Dawn works on protein fabrics, so it’s effectiveness is much better on wool and silk. Mix 1 tablespoon Dawn, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 2 cups water. Apply to the stain, leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse with cool water. You might have to repeat this once or twice to get all of the wine out, but it works 90% of the time on its own.
Drying Your Garment: Hang the garment to dry the first few washes to make sure you don’t have a stain that appears in the dryer (a phantom stain). If you do still have a little stain, use hydrogen peroxide applied directly to the stain, and wash. The downside of hydrogen peroxide is that it isn’t entirely removing the stain, just altering its appearance. (from WINE CULTURE MAGAZINE)

Trump has somehow convinced Carrier not to close their plant and move to Mexico. "Companies are not going to leave the U.S. anymore without consequences,” he has said. Let's just say this is evidence of success. So, if you want to build a company, would you build it here now, under such threatening and limiting circumstances?

This is from the WashPo by Woodward/Costa back in April when president-elect Trump was only a candidate:
"In his first 100 days, Trump said, he would cut taxes, “renegotiate trade deals and renegotiate military deals,” including altering the U.S. role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
He insisted that he would be able to get rid of the nation’s more than $19 trillion national debt “over a period of eight years.”
Most economists would consider this impossible because it could require taking more than $2 trillion a year out of the annual $4 trillion budget to pay off holders of the debt.
Trump vehemently disagrees: “I’m renegotiating all of our deals, the big trade deals that we’re doing so badly on. With China, $505 billion this year in trade.” He said that economic growth he foresees as a consequence of renegotiated deals would enable the United States to pay down the debt — although many economists have said the exact opposite, that a trade war would be crippling to the U.S. economy."

James Gattuso and Diane Katz have reported that just the 229 major federal regulations issued since 2009 added over $100 billion in annual costs (according to the regulatory agencies), $22 billion coming in 2015. Estimates of the total regulatory costs now exceeding income tax burdens at over $2 trillion annually.
Inherent in the concept of "class" is abrasiveness.
I am always annoyed when the class notion is applied to this country. Middleton is not authentic in England; she can be taught but she cannot ascend. That is class, as class as India.
This country has complete mobility--one could argue that the lack of any social structure has been harmful. But there is this hangover from the 19th Century where the superficial social analysis--Marx etal--groups people into segments that are more than immutable, they are also violent and inevitable enemies.
Sure, there are certain commonalities among people but these identities, that are being touted as basic, are superficial and flimsy. Being a part of a large group--gay, female, amputee, employed, Cub fan--is not an identity as class is elsewhere.
Such inclusive generalization is actually reminiscent of bigotry.

China's 2010 census showed that the fertility rate of the heavily industrialized north-east had dropped to only 0.75, too low to replace an ageing labor pool. More recent mid-cycle census data from 2015 has not yet been released, but is likely to show a further decline. And people are leaving the area in droves. But output is up, over 50% over the last years. ?Automation?

A point raised by Crane:
Bernard Williams, one of the great philosophers of the twentieth century, distinguished ethics – which is concerned with broad questions about how to live – from morality, the more narrow and abstract system of obligation, duty, right and wrong, etc. Williams thought that contemporary Western philosophy had become too obsessed with morality, and had lost sight of the importance of ethics.


AAAAaaaaaaannnnnndddddd.....a map:

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