Wednesday, May 24, 2017


"Several readers have written in this week saying they’re having a hard time squaring The Times’s own past reports of wiretapping with the paper’s assertions that there is no firm evidence that any warrants for wiretaps have been issued" - the NYT

"The turning point came in 1758. The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting [of Quakers] recorded a "unanimous concern" against "the practice of importing, buying, selling, or keeping slaves for term of life." This was the first success for the cause of abolition anywhere in the Western world. "The history of the early abolitionist movement," writes historian Arthur Zilversmit, "is essentially the record of Quaker antislavery activities." Quakers also took an active interest in the welfare of former slaves. Many masters helped to support their slaves after manumitting them. Others compensated them for their labor during slavery. When Abner Woolman (the brother of John Woodman) in 1767 freed two slaves his wife had inherited, he decided to pay them a sum equal to the amount that the estate had been increased by their labor, and asked the Haddonfield (New Jersey) meeting to help him compute a just sum."--from David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America
When Kingsley Amis praised the genre of science fiction, it was often for its extra-literary strengths – “the idea as hero.”
William Wordsworth's "Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" contains some of his most well-known lines and ideas -- that "the child is father of the man," that "birth is but a sleep and a forgetting," that "trailing clouds of glory do we come," however these must fade:
    There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
    The earth, and every common sight,
    To me did seem
    Apparell'd in celestial light,
    The glory and the freshness of a dream.
    It is not now as it hath been of yore;-
    Turn wheresoe'er I may,
    By night or day,
    The things which I have seen I now can see no more....

From the CBO assessment of the new Rube-publican "health plan:"

"In 2018, by CBO and JCT's estimates, about 14 million more people would be uninsured, relative to the number under current law. That increase would consist of about 6 million fewer people with coverage obtained in the nongroup market, roughly 5 million fewer people with coverage under Medicaid, and about 2 million fewer people with employment-based coverage. In 2019, the number of uninsured would grow to 16 million people because of further reductions in Medicaid and nongroup coverage. Most of the reductions in coverage in 2018 and 2019 would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate. Some of those people would choose not to have insurance because they choose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties. And some people would forgo insurance in response to higher premiums. CBO and JCT estimate that, in total, 41 million people under age 65 would be uninsured in 2018 and 43 million people under age 65 would be uninsured in 2019."
The problem here is, partly at least, that many people will drop their coverage--and become "uninsured"--if they are not forced to have it or if they have to pay for it. That is a little bit different than the simplistic description we are getting.

The basic Progressive problem never changes: Which promise to break.
Who is....Howard Carter?

"AI is no more scary than the human beings behind it, because AI, like domesticated animals, is designed to serve the interests of the creators." This is being offered by Caplan as a defense--a defense--of Artificial Intelligence.

Once the state is no longer neutral with respect to preferences, it can intervene on the side of the bad guys just as easily as on the side of the good.--Richard Epstein

Three patients who underwent what they believed were stem-cell treatments for macular degeneration lost their vision as a result at a Florida clinic, according to doctors who wrote about it in the New England Journal of Medicine.

When the proponents of Earth Hour celebrate renewable energy, they are envisioning modern wind turbines or solar power stations. But the reality is that wood and dung used by the poor are by far the largest renewable energy source on the planet.--Lomborg

It is reported in Business Insider that a U.S. ally shot a 200 dollar drone down with a 3 million dollar missile. That is a metaphor for government spending.

When Tutankhamun’s tomb was opened by Howard Carter in 1922, for example, 36 jars of wine were found to have been buried alongside the Egyptian boy king that contained traces of vintage red wine. The oldest known unopened bottle of wine was found in 1867 during excavation of a Roman nobleman’s tomb near the German town of Speyer; dating from around 325 AD, the nearly 1700-year-old flask currently sits on display in the town’s Historical Museum of the Palatinate.

According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 children in 2012—the most recent year for which data is available—was identified as being on the autism spectrum. That's up from one in 88 in 2008 and one in 150 in 2002. Is that an increase in disease prevalence or awareness? Children of older parents have an increased autism risk and that boys are four-to-five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.  Genes play a role as there are rare genetic anomalies found in some individuals with autism.
In 1815, Jane Austen completed Emma, her fourth novel in five years, and the last to appear in her lifetime. Though Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park had been popular, anonymously-written novels by provincial women on domestic themes were risky business for publishers, and Austen was offered such poor terms for Emma that she decided to publish it at her own expense. That it appeared with a dedication to the Prince Regent, a person whose debauched lifestyle Austen had condemned. The prince loved her books and asked that one be dedicated to him. She did so but declined his suggestion of a romance based on his family writing, "But I could no more write a romance than an epic poem . . . and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I finished the first chapter."
Krauthammer has a good article on government efficiency. This is from it:
"Madison's genius was to understand that the best bulwark against tyranny was not virtue — virtue helps, but should never be relied upon — but ambition counteracting ambition, faction counteracting faction.
You see it even in the confirmation process for Neil Gorsuch, Trump's supremely qualified and measured Supreme Court nominee. He's a slam dunk, yet some factions have scraped together a campaign to block him. Their ads are plaintive and pathetic. Yet I find them warmly reassuring. What a country — where even the vacuous have a voice.
The anti-Trump opposition flatters itself as "the resistance." As if this is Vichy France. It's not. It's 21st-century America. And the good news is that the checks and balances are working just fine."
Golden oldie:
Samuelson wrote "We have only one history of capitalism. Inferences based on a sample of one must never be accorded sure-thing interpretatio...
A package exploded when it was opened at the offices in central Paris of the International Monetary Fund. Radical Libertarians?

Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015
The giving to religion slice of Giving USA’s recipient pie chart, which measures the percentage of donations made to nine charitable subsectors, has steadily shrunk for decades. Paradoxically, it has never tumbled from its first-place standing in terms of total donations received. In 2015, the category held firm at 32 percent of the total received, the same figure estimated for 2014.

Will wrote on trump's effort to defund the federal contribution to the National Endowment of the Arts,  "The idea that the arts will wither away if the NEA goes away is risible. Distilled to its essence, the argument for the NEA is: Art is a Good Thing, therefore a government subsidy for it is a Good Deed. To appreciate the non sequitur, substitute “macaroni and cheese” for “art.”"

From 2000 through the third quarter of 2016, the value of U.S. assets owned by foreigners did indeed increase by $23.4 trillion, from $9.2 trillion to $32.6 trillion. But in that same time, the net worth of U.S. households and non-profits increased by $47.3 trillion, to $90.8 trillion. The net worth of U.S. businesses, corporate and non-corporate, increased by another $18.7 trillion. While the foreign stake in our economy continues to grow, the net worth of American households and businesses has grown by an even larger amount. --Griswold

From what I can see, the Trump-Russia connection is beginning to fade from public discussion, like last week's Kardashian outfit. Perhaps this is because there is an official investigation but, to my knowledge, so far there has been little other than "the hope of impropriety."The indifference to the truth, the focus upon the sensational, the acceptance of "The Plausible" are all becoming part of our daily life. Trump has recognized this and has simply joined in.

AAAAAaaaaaannnnnndddddd......a graph:

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