Friday, March 30, 2018

Holland pays its debt

I stumbled across this YouTube video about how a water authority in the Netherlands sold a perpetual bond, one with no maturity date, 367 years ago.  The bond has since been acquired by Yale University and it collects about 11 Euros per year interest payment.  There's something noble about honoring a financial agreement even though the costs of administering the debt outstrip the debt itself.  Hey, a deal's a deal.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Oh, no kidding? First time I've heard of this

Washington Post: "A debt crisis is on the horizon."  "For years, economists have warned of major increases in future public debt burdens. That future is on our doorstep. From this point forward, even if economic growth continues uninterrupted, current tax and spending patterns imply that annual deficits will steadily increase, approaching the $1 trillion mark in two years and steadily rising thereafter as far as the eye can see."

Sounds like a problem for the next generation.  Now gimme my check!

Related: OC Register: "How pensions are clobbering small California cities like Santa Cruz."

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

It's come to this

Democrats are now suing over the census.  The Hill: "Blue states sue Trump over census citizenship question."
Democratic attorneys general in several states said Tuesday they would bring legal action to stop the Trump administration from adding a question on citizenship to the next U.S. census, a question they said would lead to serious undercounts that could reverberate for years to come.
This was a question that appeared on the census until 1950, so its legality is not really in dispute.  Administration of the census is entirely the responsibility of the Executive Branch, administered through the Commerce Department.  So basically the Democrats' Constitutional objection to the new question is the legal argument of "That's no fair!"

Just don't answer the question.  It's not a deposition.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Here in the Happy Valley

It's been a while since I've written about the liberal nutjobs here in the Five College system.  Usually it's Hampshire College.  Had Enough Therapy?: "The Red Guards take over Mount Holyoke College." 

What happened to the great deals?

The Hill: "Coulter slams Trump: We thought we were getting a negotiator."

What's worse than this deficit-exploding spend-a-thon is that Trump didn't even seem willing to put up much of a fight.  In the end, he decided he didn't want to take heat for a government shutdown.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Dear Classic Rock radio station

If you have a promo that plays the opening notes to "Limelight" then - dammit - play "Limelight" and not "Under Pressure" for the umpteenth time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Correction of the day

Oh, Reason Online, you're better than this.  "Congress Is Still Ignoring Its Spending Problem as Deadline Looms for $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill."
CORRECTION: This post erroneously described the omnibus bill as spending $1.3 billion. It will spend $1.3 trillion.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Leakers at the FBI

The Hill: "McCabe just made life tough for Comey and the special counsel."  "The Justice Department’s inspector general clearly saw this “interaction” as problematic in seeking answers from McCabe. If the inspector general considered this to be a leak to the media, any approval by Comey would be highly significant. Comey already faces serious questions over his use of a Columbia University Law School professor to leak information to the media following his own termination as director."

Friday, March 16, 2018

Canary in the NASCAR coalmine

Uh-oh.  SB Nation: "Jimmie Johnson losing Lowe’s is another warning for NASCAR."
The news cannot be deemed shocking. In fact, Lowe’s announcing it would cease sponsoring Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports past this season was a move many within the NASCAR industry had foresaw coming for some time.

But while anticipated, it doesn’t blunt the significance any. Instead, it offers another dire reminder about the state of NASCAR in 2018 amidst continually slumping television ratings, flat attendance, and an economic climate where teams are saddled with exorbitant costs but have fewer dollars coming in.
And then I noticed this little factoid on the Jayski Silly Season site for this Sunday's race:
Since only 37 cars are entered [for 40 spots], all drivers will make the race.
I saw two races at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway and had a great time.  At the time, I paid for tickets in advance (without knowing the weather forecast) and once I took a tour bus so you could - ahem - "recover" before you got home.  But there aren't enough fans in Western Massachusetts to justify the charter anymore and, well, it's so much easier to avoid the awful traffic and stay home, especially when there's a possibility of a rain delay.

Sorry, NASCAR, but I feel you're slipping back into a regional demographic.

Wheat = Kansas. Corn = Nebraska.

Powerline: "Corn? Wheat? It's all the same to the New Yorker!"  FYI to the New Yorker: there's a NASCAR race set in Kansas, too.

That smell

Federalist: "San Francisco Is Suffering From The Excesses Of Its Own Liberalism - The astounding level of mismanagement and general deterioration of public decency will continue to plague the city until reasonable measures are taken to combat vagrancy."

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Talk about maximum ambivalence!

National Review: "Dems Prepare To Oust Pelosi if They Take Back the House."  "Top Democrats in the House believe Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) will likely be ousted from leadership in favor of a younger and more inclusive lawmaker should Democrats reclaim the lower chamber in 2018."

Waiting for the collusion fairy

Federalist: "Okay Adam Schiff, Show Us The Russia Collusion."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Winnie the Pooh banned in China "China’s war on words: Anything — be it a phrase or picture — that can be used to insult Xi has been banned."
Popular children’s character Winnie the Pooh was one of the first victims.

“It would be funny if it weren’t so serious,” says Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) analyst Fergus Ryan. “Behind the gallows humour is growing despair.”

Chinese social media has long seen a similarity between the portly features of the honey-loving bear and Xi Jinping.
Also now banned on the Chinese internet: the word "disagree".

Took a little longer than I expected

Last fall I said: "Rex Tillerson won't make it out of October."

WashPost: "Trump ousts Tillerson, will replace him as secretary of state with CIA chief Pompeo."

No chaos!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Please stay in Fairfield County

City Journal: "Connecticut on the Brink"  (Hat tip: Maggie's Farm).
Connecticut could serve as Exhibit A for the risks involved in trying to run a progressive tax system in an era of high and rising “fixed” costs (entitlements, retirement-benefit costs, and debt service). With each new income-tax hike, the state budget has become more dependent on a smaller number of extremely high earners. In 2015, Connecticut income-tax filers reporting over $1 million in earnings represented less than 1 percent of all filers—but 30 percent of total taxes owed. According to the state’s Office of Fiscal Analysis, revenue growth in FY15 was “relatively flat . . . in large part” because the top 50 taxpayers earned $3 billion less than they did the year before.
It's crazy how dependent Connecticut is on a handful of hedge fund managers in Fairfield County.  Connecticut can't raise corporate taxes again or risk a repeat of the General Electric fiasco and the effects of that last tax hike are still being felt: "MassMutual Will Close Enfield Offices, Sending 1,500 to Massachusetts, 'The Best Place for Us to Grow'"
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. said it will spend nearly $300 million in Massachusetts and add 1,500 jobs in Springfield over the next four years, expanding the workforce there to 4,500. It also will increase its presence in Boston, adding 1,000 jobs in the coming years. Massachusetts will give MassMutual a package of incentives worth $46 million.
Enfield is right on the Massachusetts border with Springfield just a couple miles up I-91.  MassMutual had just completed a renovation at the Enfield offices (I pass it on my commute) when they announced they were closing up shop.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Just getting started

Hit and Run has been all over this story for years: "California Bullet Train: Now 5 Years Later and $13 Billion More Expensive."

That's just the latest, um, "adjustment."  The boondoggle just gets more expensive from here on out.

The American Triggering

Good essay on how the Left does not want to hear your ideas: "The Psychology of Progressive Hostility." 
This is why conservatives don’t tend to express the same emotional hostility as the Left; a deeper grasp of the world’s complexity has the effect of encouraging intellectual humility. The conservative hears the progressive’s latest demands and says, “I can see how you might come to that conclusion, but I think you’ve overlooked the following…” In contrast, the progressive hears the conservative and thinks, “I have no idea why you would believe that. You’re probably a racist.”
I've mentioned this before but the local PBS station had a "dialogue" on race that was anything but.  The white audience members absolutely refused to offer a comment or question since they knew there was 100% probability of being called a racist.  Why bother?

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Sure, buddy

Fox News: "Amelia Earhart mystery solved? Scientist '99 percent' sure bones found belong to aviator."

Wow!  Can we see the bones?
The bones, which were subsequently lost, continue to be a source of debate.
All we need is to do is check to see if this study was backed by a questionable, self-serving organization to close the book on this investigation. 

Monday, March 05, 2018

As I predicted

Fox News: "ABC star Jimmy Kimmel's 'divisive,' politically charged Oscars were lowest on record."

Golly, I can't believe Americans didn't want to tune in to a lecture on identity politics.

Extra - Minuteman: "I guess the audience for an orgy of Hollywood self-congratulation isn't what it used to be."

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Still a nothingburger

Hot Air: "Condi Rice To Adam Schiff: ‘I Really Hope You Can Wrap It Up’."

In his appearance on "The View", Schiff repeated the same two charges of "collusion" that Jim Himes tried to sell on Fox News Sunday last week:
HIMES: Well, it depends on how you define collusion. When George Papadopoulos hears from somebody associated with the Russians that they're about to release a whole bunch of information and then they do, when Donald Trump Jr. invites Russians into his office in order to get dirt on the Clinton campaign. Chris, you tell me if that crosses your threshold for collusion. But that is hardly really (INAUDIBLE) innocent (ph).

WALLACE: Well, frankly, sir, as long as you asked, no, it doesn't. I mean -- I mean you can say that they were conversations, but that certainly doesn't indicate there was a conspiracy by the Trump campaign and the Russian -- and the Kremlin to -- to interfere.
This is where we are after a year: that drunk college student and the Veselnitskaya meeting?  Wrap it up already.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Tax the rich, ride the rollercoaster

Last year, the Atlantic had an article about the fiscal problems in Connecticut which included this tidbit:
In the last decade, Connecticut’s millionaires have accounted for as much as 30 percent of the state’s income-tax revenue. This is a problem, because the investment income of financiers is volatile. When hedge funds’ earnings falter, as they have in the last few years, Connecticut feels the pain. Indeed, the state’s income-tax revenue ... tracks capital gains ... so closely that Connecticut’s tax coffers are essentially a barometer of the health of financial markets.
The results (which can be seen in the embedded graph) are an extremely volatile revenue stream for the state.  Connecticut has to hope that the "rich get richer" because that's where the tax revenues are.

So if 30% of your state revenue is paid by millionaires, what do you get when your state has half of all taxes paid for by the top 1%?  You get the worst "quality of life" in the United States:
If the stock market shifts from gains to losses, Standard & Poor’s said, the budget could be negatively impacted in a major way because about half of the state’s revenue comes from the wealthiest 1% in California.
They're really hoping that the next Avengers movie can pay the bills in Sacramento.

Darn you, Betsy DeVos!

Federalist: "It’s Time To Disband DC’s Public School System Once And For All - Four decades of mental carnage inflicted on especially vulnerable children need to end now. It's time to disband Washington DC public schools before the system can destroy yet another generation."