Wednesday, February 22, 2017


But in the end what Obama did that is unforgivable is increasing centralization in a complex system.--Taleb

Trump is now the official President. Somehow all the options offered by celebrities  were wrong. One wonders at these people who seem to believe they are and should be influential. They interview each other, pontificate on shows, even take out political ads featuring themselves. The Clinton campaign looked like a entertainment roadshow. Maybe they are only satisfying.

Moscato is the same as Muscat, a very ancient Mediterranean variety known for a highly pronounced aroma which can even seem like a "grape perfume." Moscato as a general style of wine - rather light and with noticeable sweetness - is very trendy right now. The inspiration for this particular incarnation comes from Piedmont, Italy and specifically Moscato d'Asti. As often happens when a grape catches on, the original is copied in other parts of the world. There are also dry and fortified sweet versions of Muscat-based wines which all share a marked aromatic profile.

Parable: noun: A short story that illustrates a moral lesson. Interesting background. ety: From Old French parable, from Latin parabola (comparison), from Greek parabole (comparison), from paraballein (to compare), from para- (beside) + ballein (to throw). Earliest documented use: 1250. The same origin as "parabola."

Underfunded government pensions to the tune of $1.3 trillion, with a gap that just can’t be filled, is the ticking time bomb facing the US economy which faces dramatic cuts in public services - and potentially riots reminiscent of Athens six years ago - according to former Federal Reserve advisor Danielle DiMartino Booth. This is a serious woman.

Few truths are so well-supported by theory and so universally verified by experience as is the truth that the greater the number of people with whom we are free to exchange and trade, the greater is our prosperity and the more peaceful and enriching is our culture.  Yet few truths are as stubbornly resisted. Somehow people campaign for the decrease of options, restriction of wealth and the promotion of scarcity without quam or embarrassment.

Thought: There was (rightly) a cloud of illegitimacy over Bush, dispelled (wrongly) by 9/11. Creates some interesting incentives for Trump." This was written by Paul Krugman, apparently suggesting that 9/11 created legitimacy for Bush' presidency and that Trump might create a similar disaster for the same reason. Perhaps becoming a less serious man.

Who is....Robert Gates?

In the early twentieth century, the principle of geographic diversity was used to conceal bias against Jews in the admission of students to Harvard and other leading academic institutions. Because the Jewish population was concentrated in New York and other east coast communities at that time, quota limits on how many Jewish students would be admitted were concealed by saying that Harvard wanted a diverse student body, consisting of students from around the country.
Therefore some highly qualified Jewish applicants could be passed over, in favor of less qualified applicants from the midwest or other regions of the country. (Sowell)
He argues the same diversity argument is used now to exclude high-achieving Asian applicants.

Hans Rosling is a physician and epidemiologist. The Cuban embassy in Sweden had asked him to find out whether toxic cassava could have caused roughly 40,000 people to experience visual blurring and severe numbness in their legs. On his first morning in Havana, Rosling met local epidemiologists in a conference room. "Then, two men walk in with guns, and in comes Fidel Castro," he recalls. "My first surprise was that he was so kind, like Father Christmas. He didn't have the attitude you might expect from a dictator." With Castro's approval, Rosling travelled to the heart of the outbreak, in the western province of Pinar del Río. It turned out that there was no link with cassava. Rather, adults stricken with the disorder all suffered from protein deficiency. The government was rationing meat, and adults had sacrificed their portion to nourish children, pregnant women and the elderly.
Reporting back to Castro, Rosling couched his conclusions carefully: "I know your neighbours want to force their economic system on you, which I don't like, but the system needs to change because this planned economy has brought this disease to people." After his presentation, Rosling went to the toilet. A Cuban epidemiologist approached him to thank him. He and his colleagues had come to the same conclusion several months earlier, but they were removed from the investigation for criticizing communism. Corroboration of their work from Rosling and other independent researchers supported the policy changes that stemmed the outbreak.
There is no info as to whether Cuba changed its general policy.

Robert Gates, United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011, said on Charlie Rose that, when sitting across the table from Putin, he looked into the eyes of "a cold stone killer."

Golden oldie:
An interesting approach to the VP nominee Paul Ryan has emerged for Obama supporters.  Liberal critics gleefully report Ryan supported Presi...

The death rate increased 1.2% last year, and life expectancy fell in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. Female life expectancy dropped from 81.3 to 81.2 years, and male life expectancy fell from 76.5 to 76.3 years.  As ABC News notes, “A decades-long trend of rising life expectancy in the U.S. could be ending: It declined last year and it is no better than it was four years ago.”
The core elements of Obamacare went into effect in 2014. Now, in our obsessed news culture, one would think the conclusion would be the negative change in survival rates would be related to Obamacare.

A couple of phrases are new to me, "strongman," and "fake news." "Strongman" has a history, mostly with regard to Mussolini; on Google's Ngram it rose in the sixties much higher than in the 40s but still low. "Fake news" is untrackable. It is interesting how these phrases emerge. I remember when the big word was "gravitas." It has gone away. There's probably conferences, tax deductible, where these words and phrases are debated and chosen.

In 1879 Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House was greeted with praise from Shaw and suffragettes, scorn and fear from others. The play was described as dropping of "a bomb into contemporary life," and "a death sentence on accepted social ethics." Theatrically, the bomb was signaled by Nora's exit from her house and gender-roles at the end of Act V -- the "door slam heard 'round the world." Ibsen appeared to retreat from his radical views when he agreed to rewrite the play with a more palatable ending -- Nora is made to return inside, and sink to her knees before her children's bedroom -- but this was merely because such a "barbaric outrage" on the play was planned by one German production, and having no recourse to stopping it, Ibsen preferred to do his own bowdlerizing.

The need for diversity:  Hillary Clinton won California by 4.2 million votes and New York by 1.6 million. Without those two votes Trump won by 3 million. The Electoral College does make a lot of sense in diversifying the vote.

Italian equities have underperformed German equities by -65%, reversing the previous half century’s pattern when Italian equities outperformed on a total return basis. Similarly, since 2003 Italian factory output has lagged Germany’s by 40%. The diagnosis is simply that Italy has become woefully uncompetitive, and as a result, is not solvent. (from a market letter. These guys are almost always wrong....but.....)

"Cinema is gone," Martin Scorsese says in a recent interview. "The cinema I grew up with and that I'm making, it's gone."
"The theater will always be there for that communal experience, there's no doubt. But what kind of experience is it going to be?" he continues. "Is it always going to be a theme-park movie? I sound like an old man, which I am. The big screen for us in the '50s, you go from Westerns to 'Lawrence of Arabia' to the special experience of '2001' in 1968. The experience of seeing 'Vertigo' and 'The Searchers' in VistaVision."
Scorsese points to the proliferation of images and the overreliance on superficial techniques as trends that have diminished the power of cinema to younger audiences. "It should matter to your life," he says. "Unfortunately the latest generations don't know that it mattered so much."

Trade limits will be all the talk as Trump is a proponent. Somehow people campaign for the decrease of options, restriction of wealth and the promotion of scarcity without qualm or embarrassment.

When Clinton won against Bush--a guy I think was the last significantly good leader--he got 43% of the popular vote. Bush got 37% and, the big factor, Perot, stole 19% of the vote from Bush. Otherwise Clinton would have been slaughtered. Trump got 46% of the vote.
AAAAaaaaaannnnnnddddd.......a graph:

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