Saturday, February 25, 2017


"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong." - H. L. Mencken

In 1917, the psychologist Edwin G. Boring and his wife, Lucy, described an experiment in which they woke people at intervals to see if they knew what time it was; the average estimate was accurate to within fifty minutes, although almost everyone thought it was later than it actually was.
“Regarding economics, if you haven’t read Ayn Rand lately, I suggest that you do as her books pretty well capture the mindset. This new administration hates weak, unproductive, socialist people and policies, and it admires strong, can-do profit makers (emphasis mine). It wants to, and probably will, shift the environment from one that makes profit makers villains with limited power to one that makes them heroes with significant power. The shift from the past administration to this administration will probably be even more significant than the 1979–82 shift from the socialists to the capitalists in the UK, US, and Germany when Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Helmut Kohl came to power.” This was written by Ray Dalio, an American businessman and founder of the investment firm Bridgewater Associates, one of the world's largest hedge funds. Ayn Rand!

The cuneiform inscription in the Liberty Fund logo is the earliest-known written appearance of the word "freedom" (amagi), or "liberty." It is taken from a clay document written about 2300 B.C. in the Sumerian city-state of Lagash.

A growing group of artists is hitting back against Ivanka Trump, with some even demanding the president-elect's daughter take their work down off her walls. This is what we professionals refer to as a "soft target."

Almost 40% of young Americans were living with their parents, siblings or other relatives in 2015, the largest percentage since 1940, according to an analysis of census data by real estate tracker Trulia.

Who is....the vampire squid?

The Obama administration indefinitely blocked oil and natural-gas drilling in parts of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, part of last-minute actions seeking to lock in the departing president’s environmental legacy. Since this can be overturned by similar action by Trump, one might assume that Obama is simply marking his territory.

Squid news: Goldman Sachs courted the Malaysian state fund now at the heart of global embezzlement probes, earning high fees for selling its bonds. Investigators want to know if the bank had reason to suspect misuse of the money. This ranks in mystery right up there with Brad Pitt's revelation that Angie "has no self-regulating mechanism."
Not until about age four can children conceptually distinguish “before” from “after.”  For the first three or four years of life, many researchers think, a child doesn’t distinguish between his own memories and ones that are recounted to him. Tell him about your trip to the Empire State Building, and he may later remember the event as if he’d gone himself.

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. They will probably be everywhere, like "gravitas" was during the Bush administration, until they lose their propaganda value and we will have new generalities to fret about.

Golden oldie:

Ivanka got an earful on a JetBlue flight as a grown man bullied a young mother  on a plane.
'Your father is ruining the country,' said Dan Goldstein, a lawyer from Brooklyn, who had a  child in his arms according to TMZ.
Goldstein then began screaming out: 'Why is she on our flight. She should be flying private.'
Ivanka paid as little attention as possible and tried to preoccupy her children with some crayons to diffuse the situation until the crew escorted him off the plane.
Goldstein's husband, Matthew Lasner, said that was not what happened however on Twitter, writing: 'My husband expressed his displeasure in a calm tone, JetBlue staff overheard, and they kicked us off the plane.'
However. just an hour prior to that Lasner wrote on Twitter: 'Ivanka and Jared at JFK T5, flying commercial. My husband chasing them down to harass them. '
(Daily Mail)
Who are these righteous people? Can you imagine the coverage had the two guys been Muslim? Or if the daughter had been Obama's?
"He's not been reading policy journals for the last decade." From Conway interview on Trump. Maybe there is hope. Maybe he can catch up.

The Trump Rally. In spite of the promises of all the experts the markets are up 1500 points.
Now, growth is next. But, the dollar is now the strongest it’s been since 2002. Soooooo......why would a manufacturer utilizing low wages in the Far East and benefiting from the strong dollar by selling their products into the US, decide to pay higher US level wage rates and have to compete in world markets with the anchor of a record high dollar around their necks? What part of this picture am I missing?

The New Yorker has an article on Time. Here's a quote from it: For Augustine, the present wasn’t something to observe; it is spoken and inhabited. Or perhaps it inhabits us—time is a volume, and we are its vessel. For James, it was the other way around: time is the container to our thoughts; the present moment is undefined without our mind to fill it.
So two brilliant minds have two polar opposite views of the question.

Part of a Q&A with Jamie Dimon in Bloomberg: What is your diagnosis about what’s going on in this country, this economic angst, the anti-immigrant sentiment?
It’s not anti-immigration per se. America’s changing too much for that. The core of the frustration and anger were two things. First, middle-class incomes have really not grown for 15 years. Second, the difference between unskilled and skilled has been growing over time. The unskilled really have a hard time having what you would call a living wage.

We find that 94% of net job growth in the past decade was in the alternative work category,” said Obama's former top White House economist Alan Krueger. In other words, nearly all of the 10 million jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were not traditional nine-to-five employment, but low-paying temp, on-call, contract workers, independent contractors or freelancers.

Solipsism: n: a theory in philosophy that your own existence is the only thing that is real or that can be known.
The French philosopher RenĂ© Descartes is often credited with introducing solipsism as a major problem of modern philosophy, but the word solipsism most likely sprang from a French satire written by Giulio Clemente Scotti in 1652 called La Monarchie des Solipses. The term wasn't used in English until the late 19th century, when solipsism, a composite of the Latin solus ("alone") and ipse ("self"), was applied purely in the philosophical sense. Recently the word has taken on another, more general sense, suggesting an ego-driven selfishness or self-indulgence. Latin solus alone + ipse self.  First Known Use: 1874

Biden suggested that Hillary lost primarily because she never "really figured out why she was running" in The Hill. Now they tell us. It wasn't greed, insatiable lust for power, arrogance, entitlement and hubris? She wanted to be President but didn't know why? Well, that's good to know.

AAAAAannnnnnnnddddddddd........the above-mentioned cuneiform of what is said to be the earliest appearance of the word "freedom," recently made popular by Mel Gibson:

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