Saturday, May 13, 2017


"We are here on Earth to help others. What the others are here for, I've NO idea."--W.H. Auden

A doctor at the Cleveland Clinic  published an article  filled with anti-vaccine rhetoric, including the widely debunked claim that vaccines are linked to autism.

In Phishing for Phools (2015), the two Nobel Prize-winning economists, George Akerlof and Robert Shuller, explain that, unguided, the market will generate too many asset managers and lawyers and too few innovators. What is needed instead is a redesign of corporate taxation. Social democracy imagined that corporate taxation was there to raise revenue for public spending. This was illusory because companies tend to shift taxation on to consumers. But smart corporate taxation would shift resources from those activities where there are too many people to those where there are too few. It would become an instrument in delivering growth, not public services.
Ah, the guiding hand of self-appointed experts.

The recent National Intelligence Council report assessing the involvement of Russia in last year’s U.S. presidential elections spurred a flurry of media reports suggesting that Russia is heavily involved in a disinformation anti-fracking campaigning. 

Julia Thomas has an article on the current era being called the Anthropocene. Her article is interested in climate change and she has this interesting story:
"When the Endeavour, captained by James Cook, floated into Botany Bay in 1770, the Aborigines on the shore apparently paid no attention. So vast and unfamiliar was that 106-foot ship that it was beyond the comprehension of those whose culture it doomed. Sinister yet invisible, it provoked no interest. Not until a longboat was lowered did they recognize the situation: a small boat meant invasion. Most fled, leaving two brave warriors to face Cook’s musket shots and four or five babies whom the retreating adults could not carry. As this incident shows, the truly alien is often beyond our ken. Cognitive science documents many instances where people quite simply do not see what they cannot comprehend. Radical strangeness on an immense scale can fail to register."
This fanciful description is an example of the wonderful part of our brain that demands narrative, any narrative.

Who is....Marc Mezvisnky?

Having decided to actively increase its risk exposure over the past few years, including venturing into high beta stocks and junk bonds, Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund, or GPIF, the world's largest pension fund, has decided to invest in US infrastructure projects next.

"People work in order to loosen the grip of scarcity – to make goods and services more abundant.  Making goods and services more abundant is the end; work is the means.
Seeing a connection between work and a reduction of scarcity, protectionists falsely suppose that, by artificially increasing scarcity, the resulting increase in work-effort will make the people more prosperous."
Bordeaux wrote this but I am not sure protectionists really have an understanding of scarcity at all.

In liberal circles, shared identity has been replaced by an ostensible espousal of diversity. But acceptable diversity is confined to the favoured groups: it does not extend, for example, to most readers of the National Review  or Patriots fans.  So there is an unspoken hierarchy in diversification here. And shared identity based on nationalism has been so universally condemned as to have become unacceptable. Liberal disdain has been driven by fears that nationalism would incite a return to majority violence against minorities, and by the hope that nation-based governance can be superseded by multiculturalism and global citizenship. But majority antipathy to minorities is not necessarily intrinsic to nationalism.
And there is an additional element: Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain returns again and again to one distressing point. The great totalitarian governments have one attack in common: The attack on freedom of association; the state always rises when it can break down voluntary groups. (This is from the historian Stuart Finkel's  startling observation that communists have always acted more forcibly to undermine free association than to undermine free enterprise.)

In a federal survey published online in December, almost 4 percent of mothers-to-be said they had used marijuana in the past month in 2014, compared with 2.4 percent in 2002. By comparison, roughly 9 percent of pregnant women ages 18 to 44 admitted using alcohol. Roughly 7.5 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds said they had used pot in the past month in 2014, compared with 2 percent of women ages 26 to 44. 
In Pittsburgh, 6-year-olds born to mothers who had smoked one joint or more daily in the first trimester showed a decreased ability to understand concepts in listening and reading. At age 10, children exposed to THC in utero were more impulsive than other children and less able to focus their attention.
Most troubling, children of mothers who used marijuana heavily in the first trimester had lower scores in reading, math and spelling at age 14 than their peers.
(There are many interpretations of these soft tests, one being dumb girls smoke dope and also have dumb kids.)

The Fukushima nuclear plant operator announced that they discovered a hole at least one square meter in size beneath the reactor's pressure vessel, and lethal record-high radiation levels have been detected.

The House struck down regulations that blocked gun ownership by some who have been deemed mentally impaired by the Social Security Administration. Now who would want mentally impaired people to have gun rights? But who would want that decision made by the SSA?

The Righteous are trying to boycott Nordstrom for carrying clothes made by Trump's daughter. As we all remember from our Marxist teaching, oppression is genetic.

A prestigious international affairs university in Paris, The Paris School of International Affairs also known as Sciences Po, has canceled events by speakers critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin to protect exchange relationships with Russian universities, a source at the university told BuzzFeed France. 
They cancelled a talk by American investigative journalist David Satter, who was banned from entering Russia.
Satter’s latest book, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship Under Yeltsin and Putin claims that the Russian security services carried out a 1999 string of apartment bombings in three Russian cities with the intention of pinning them on Chechen terrorists. Hundreds of Russians died in the attacks, galvanizing the country around a tragedy sometimes called Russia's 9/11 and bringing Putin to power.

Do the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor? About 56 percent of those in the top income quintile will drop from it within 20 years. Barely one-half of the top 1 percent of earners are in that category for 10 consecutive years. And one out of every five children born to parents in the bottom income quintile will reach one of the top two quintiles in adulthood.

4.5 billion dollars were placed on bets for the Super Bowl, 100 million legally. The game was 60 minutes, ads were 80 minutes.

The CFPB [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] thus combines broad, vaguely defined powers with a complete absence of effective oversight by any other branch of government, even including Congress in the absence of new governing legislation.  The president can appoint, but cannot remove the Director, Congress cannot affect the CFPB’s budget, the CFPB is headed by a single Director and thus lacks the internal checks and balances of a commission structure, and neither the Federal Reserve nor any other regulatory body has any authority to override the acts of the CFPB.  Finally, although the CFPB is required to do its own cost-benefit analysis of proposed regulations, it is insulated from review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and the Office of Management and Budget.  Consequently, it is immune from the standard cost-benefit analysis applied to other executive departments.  In short, the CFPB is arguably the combination of the most powerful and least accountable regulatory agency in American history.--Consumer Credit and the American Economy
So how is it that government regulators are so unregulated?

Just when there seems to be nothing but lunatics attacking people and buildings and screaming at Town Hall events, a glimmer of light. Kelly Ann Conway referred to the Bowling Green Massacre--several times--in an apparent effort to continue the violent Muslim narrative (the narrative is all) when the Bowling Green event was actually a weapons sale. Indignation in the press did not inspire lunacy but humor. A crowd showed up at Bowling Green with "We can't remember/ There's nothing to forget" signs.
Still, is the weapons sale nothing?

From the new world news authority, The Daily Mail:
"A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.
The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world’s media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers.
But the whistleblower, Dr. John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data."
In 1989 Stephen Schneider wrote in Discover magazine that in order "to capture the public's imagination . . . we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have."
Not actually inspiring.

When Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep was published, Chandler was fifty-one. He was an ex-oil company executive who had taken up writing at the age of forty-five after being fired for alcohol-inspired absenteeism. This was his first novel, and the first of seven featuring the ever-inimitable and much-copied Philip Marlowe.

The constitutions of Pennsylvania (1790), Tennessee (1796), and Mississippi (1817) required that those in public office demonstrate their belief in God and in eternal punishments and rewards. Elsewhere, the constitutions of Massachusetts (1780) and New Hampshire (1784) required that those in public office be Christians. This discrimination continued after the Civil War, when the constitutions of Maryland (1867), North Carolina (1868), Arkansas (1874) and Texas (1876) prevented atheists from obtaining any position of public trust.

Golden oldie:
Officials at the IMF are disturbed by inequity of income throughout the world. Wealth too. They have a number of well considered ideas abo...

I am more concerned with the Shaman problem. Given a choice between an economist who claims to have a low-cost solution to a problem and an economist who says that no such solution exists, the political process will choose the economist who promises a cure.--Kling

Here's a coincidence: Marc Mezvisnky quietly shut down his hedge fund Eaglevale Partners back in December. Bloomberg reports that Chelsea Clinton's husband and his partners are now working to return to money to investors. The decision to shutter the fund came just a few weeks after Mezvinsky's mother-in-law Hillary lost the election to president Donald Trump.

A group of prominent Republicans and business leaders backing a tax on carbon dioxide were taking their case Wednesday to top White House aides, including chief economic adviser Gary Cohn.
The group, including former Treasury Secretaries Hank Paulson and James Baker, is pressing President Donald Trump to tax carbon dioxide in exchange for abolishing a slew of environmental regulations. They unveiled their plan with a press conference in Washington and an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

The selection of DeVos as Education has some significance. She is not popular in the press and her approval was seen as chancy. But it was pretty much assured that she would be approved regardless of the fuss; the fuss was mostly of no consequence, although it was presented as very important. Yes, it was close but, no, her defeat was very unlikely. Two Rube-publican women senators voted with Democrats against her. There was no gender talk, no enthusiasm for more women in the cabinet. No girls' solidarity.
Why is she despised? She has, for more than 20 years, been promoting programs, laws and policies that enable parents to choose which schools their children will attend — whether these are charter schools, voucher schools or parochial schools. Why is this important? Because, if approved, a "choice" school receives money from the education underwriting that is taken from teachers union schools. Apparently "choice" is valuable and important in only certain, limited situations.
Is school choice a good thing? Well, it does fit the American "freedom" notion but whether it is a good way of educating is unknown. That is to say, it is an experiment. I have no objection to experiments but think they should start as limited projects, not as universal decrees.

Greek 2Y bond yields soared, approaching 10% for the first time since September 2016, as an increasingly bitter fight between the nation’s creditors over its fiscal targets raised concerns it is running out of time to complete yet another review of its bailout program, and even sparked concerns a 4th Greek bailout may be in the offing.

For every million we bring into the United States, another 80 million people yearly are born into countries with extreme levels of poverty, violence or war. Sooooo........

"I often say that a mathematician thinks in numbers, a lawyer in laws, and an idiot thinks in words. These words don’t amount to anything. I think you have to draw the conclusion that there is a global riot against pseudo-experts. I saw it with Brexit, and Nigel Farage [leader of the U.K. Independence Party], who was a trader for 15 years, said the problem with the government was that none of them had ever had a proper job. Being a bureaucrat is not a proper job."--Taleb
AAAAAAnnnnnnnddddddd....a picture:
Washington, D.C., circa 1919. "Walter Reed Hospital flu ward." One of the very few images in Washington-area photo archives documenting the influenza contagion of 1918-1919, which killed over 500,000 Americans and tens of millions around the globe. Most victims succumbed to bacterial pneumonia following influenza virus infection.

No comments: