And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Linkee-poo is ducking all these birds

Buongiorno to all my readers in Italy. Not sure why you all show up at the same time, but you do you. Did you all get a group rate or something?

"A legal memo from the Department of the Interior posted Friday declares that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act applies only to purposeful actions that kill migratory birds, and not to energy companies and other businesses that kill birds incidentally." Because fuck birds, that's why. Oh, you thought the Trump administration was going to roll back all those stupid regulations that don't have a real impact instead of rolling back regulations that make corporations behave in moral and responsible manners?

"Contaminated food is taking too long to be removed from store shelves, according to a report issued by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services." Funny, that sort of statement is usually followed by how soon the IG is retiring. I mean, who needs government regulations? "Every year about 130,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized with a food-borne illness, and 3,000 people die." Hey, I've got an idea. I bet we could cut government spending and lessen the deficit by continuing to reduce the number of government inspectors and labs positions.

"Harley-Davidson is placing a renewed emphasis on teaching people to ride as part of its efforts to attract more customers." Dear HD, it also doesn't help that your current lineup of 700cc bikes are north of $10k (although there are some stripped down models that are price competitive with the competition, the H-D Street line). Not to mention that thought that you still need to do a "tune up" just out of the gate to get the full performance of the engine (if that's still true or not doesn't matter as long as people think they have to spend and extra grand to get a good bike). Also remember, this was your marketing strategy.

"A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the state of Arizona from enforcing a controversial law banning ethnic studies courses, bringing near a close a seven-year battle over teaching about Mexican Americans in Tucson public schools." And now you know why conservatives have a hard-on for stacking the federal courts with specifically groomed conservative idealists who have no real legal education or experience. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Excitement and joy turned to anger and frustration Wednesday as dozens of people expecting to collect lottery winnings instead left the South Carolina Education Lottery offices empty handed." Apparently a computer "error" lead to too many winning tickets being sold. Now if it comes up as intentional tampering (which probably was not done by the "winners") the state has a case to refuse to pay. If it comes up as an existing "error" in the code (or probably just a statistical anomaly) then the state should cough up the cash. They won't, though. Most lotteries have language which allow the lottery system to adjust payouts in the case of such anomalies. But also noted here for an example of "you can't beat the house." Lotteries are statistically rigged to bring in more money that they payout. Not like that's going to stop me from buying tickets for the big lotto jackpots. As I've stated before, if you go in accepting that they are ultra-high risk, ultra-high (potential) payout investments it works out better.

Risks are all around us. Here's an NPR story on the making of ice wine. It's a very risky prospect. We have our own local wine community in NE Ohio (yeah for micro-climates) and they try to produce ice wine. Some years they make it, other years not. Ice wine is very sweet (without additional sugar, as with the Rieslings they make on the Lake Erie islands) and really not to my tastes.

"With demand for ambulances decreased by available Uber drivers, emergency personnel have been able reach critical patients faster while also applying necessary treatment on the way to the hospital, according to a new economic study from the University of Kansas…" (Grokked from Dan)

"In its last-minute court battle to stop state officials from certifying Jones as the winner, the Moore campaign said certification should be delayed until a 'thorough investigation of potential election fraud,' according to a press release." The Alabama Secretary of State calls bullshit. Also in his complaint disgraced judge Roy Moore states he took a polygraph test after the election that found he didn't molest young girls. I can't help but thinking 1) why is this in his complaint about election irregularities and 2) probably didn't go much farther than placing his hand on a Bible and swearing and was found to not have burst into flames (as far as observers could tell).

"The White House hopes to boost President Donald Trump’s low approval ratings by using the economy as a centerpiece of its political message in 2018, according to three White House officials, even if many of the president’s successes so far are squarely built on the legacy of former President Barack Obama." Apparently the media hasn't got the message that "truthfulness" and "Trump Administration" don't go together. With this presidency it's all about the spin, baby. "But hard economic data on growth, job creation and wages look very similar to the last several years under Obama. The pace of job growth actually slowed slightly to 174,000 per month in 2017 through November, compared with 187,000 per month in Obama’s final year… In the first 11 months of Obama’s presidency, the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 37 percent. It rose 18 percent under Trump. The Dow rose 30 percent in Obama’s first 11 months to Trump’s 24 percent."

"The richest people on earth became $1 trillion richer in 2017, more than four times last year’s gain, as stock markets shrugged off economic, social and political divisions to reach record highs."

Also to reiterate, I'm seeing a recession in the coming calendar year (although it may now be the last quarter where we have the first negative growth continuing into the 2019 calendar year, but my money is it starting in the second quarter). The hype around the stock market, bitcoin, home sales all bear the same hallmarks of 2006 (2000, 1990, etc). I'm already seeing the stories of, "Will it all last? Of course it will! We're in a new economic reality!" Heard it before. Wasn't true then either. We also have the combined issue of reduced health care spending and insurance rates (health care was one of the fastest growing employment and market sectors after Obamacare was passed).

Some discussion on Trump (potentially) issuing pardons in the Russia probe.

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