Saturday, January 14, 2017

No, that won't work at all

Catching up on this week's Financial Times and the tangents it puts me on.

What is the etymology of but?

The Financial Times has run several articles this past week on former MI-6 Christopher Steele's dossier on Donald Trump.

In most of them they mention, towards the end, that the dossier's contents were shared with journos at a number of publications including the Financial Times.

And the FT couldn't corroborate any of the claims.
Gaius Publius writes how there are at least 5 state actors involved in influencing the 2016 US election:
So who again tried to tilt the field for or against Clinton or Trump? Including Russia, the administration, Comey, agents of the FBI and NY police, the CIA and national security forces, I count five groups.
And points out the Democrats are assisting the Deep State in attempting to overthrow Trump.
But when FBI Director Comey was forced to "investigate" Clinton's secret emails the Dems decried his interference. They did not decry the Obama Administration's interference when he campaigned on behalf of Clinton. They also did not decry Bill Clinton waylaying AG Lynch on a Phoenix airport tarmac.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Green means go

Or, The Big Green Go.
Or, Monday-Friday.

Sometimes the podcast title is the last thing you figure out.

The hardware.

The software.
Pamela (program to record Skype)

Learning to use the hardware. And the audio editing software.
Eliminate the distracting sounds - like breathing into the mic. Or saying ummm.
Level the audio using Levelator.

Creative commons license.
Fair use license.

Putting the show online.
Tagging, compressing, posting.

Hosting files at

Submitting to iTunes.

Going to need a feedburner, like RSS.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Is the glass left half full, or right half full

Lionel Barber writes in the Financial Times:

And he's right about the end of the old left/right divide. When the Bush family and neocons line up with the Democratic Party to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of the Republican Party's Donald Trump - the fault lines have shifted.

Parties have been shifting and evolving since their inception but today's hardcore "FDR Democracts" cannot conceive of being in a party with hardcore Republicans. And the Paul Ryans (Speaker of the House) and Grover Norquists are not any happier finding themselves in the same tent as Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, House Minority Leader) and Charles Schumer (Senator, D-NY).

And yet, both groups will continue to believe they oppose each other. It's true: the more schooling you have, the easier it is to fool you. Consider this quote:
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
—Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, 1841

To show up the alleged Left, who believe themselves progressive, inclusive, and tolerant Zero Hedge picked up a story from San Francisco where denizens attend community meetings protesting arrivistes.

From the original article in the San Francisco Chronicle:
San Francisco is one of the most progressive cities in the nation, especially when it comes to national immigration. We believe so much in the natural right of people to join us here in America that we fought to keep our status as sanctuary city even in the face of being federally defunded for it. We pride ourselves on our rejection of plans to tighten immigration controls and deport undocumented immigrants. Yet take that same conversation to the local level and all bets are off. City meetings have become heated, divisive and prone to rhetoric where we openly discuss exactly which kinds of people we want to keep out of our city. 
This is an ethically incoherent position. If we in San Francisco so strongly believe that national immigration is a human right, then it seems strange to block migration into our own neighborhoods.
Goes on the cite plans for a development in Calle 24, where current residents claim it will bring tech workers into the Latino Cultural District. Tech workers? Is that code for undesirables?

Another community hearing, in Forest Hill, opposed an affordable housing project for seniors and former homeless.
They're afraid it would be bring mentally unstable or drug addicted people into the neighborhood.

Back to the SF Chronicle:
In both cases, residents took it as a given that they were within their rights to control who lived in their neighborhoods.
That sounds an awful lot like Brexiteers and Trump voters.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Say, hypothetically, a bankruptcy happens

Tuesday, December 6 2016 Reuters reported on Chicago Public School's (CPS) imminent bond issue. 

Strongly suspect reporter Karen Pierog and editor Matthew Lewis were not able to keep a straight face.
The prospectus includes legal opinions on a "hypothetical bankruptcy" by CPS that conclude payments on the new bonds would not be automatically stopped by a federal bankruptcy court and that bondholders would retain a lien on the tax revenue.
CPS would like to issue a $500mn bond secured solely by a capital improvement property tax - and not by the district's general obligation (GO) pledge.

That's what they would like to do.
And they'll probably do it - and rated junk by S&P, Moody's, and Fitch.

The general obligation pledge covers $6.8 billion of existing bonds.

Separately, CPS is having a cow over Governor Rauner vetoing a bill to give CPS a one-time $215 million state payment to help cover pension costs.

1. $215 million is nothing compared to the gaping maw of CPS's pension needs.
2. The pensioners and current employees are the ones to cover the plan's costs, not taxpayers.
3. When my lease is up October 2017 I am getting the hell out of Chicago and Cook County. I wish I could leave Illinois but the commutes from Wisconsin or Indiana don't work out.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

I'm rubber and you're black

In the 3rd Presidential Debate Donald Trump refused to say he'd accept the election results, if he felt the results were rigged.

Hillary Clinton blasted that as "horrifying." From the LA Times, October 19 2016:
“That’s horrifying,” Mrs. Clinton replied. “Let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating — he is talking down our democracy. And I am appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that position.”

Above: Joe Scarborough on MSNBC reacts to the Jill Stein-fronted recounts in states that went to Trump, on behalf of Clinton.

Snapshot from Jill Stein's #RECOUNT2016 website:

Interesting how the goal keeps getting hiked upwards. The original goal was $2.5mn. noticed that early on, writing on November 25 2016:
"you may want to read the fine print on her website. So far, she has raised $4.8 million, but take a look at this little clause at the end of the donation form:
We cannot guarantee a recount will happen in any of these states we are targeting. We can only pledge we will demand recounts in those states.
If we raise more than what's needed, the surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.
And interestingly, as more donations started pouring in over the holiday, Stein has moved her total fundraising goal to $7 million."
Also interesting - why isn't Stein targeting states that Clinton won?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Napoleon front-ran the EU. See Cisalpine Republic.

There is a great podcast on Italian unification, hosted by 2 brothers: Talking History Podcast.

In episode 11 (Divide and Rule) they go into detail about Napoleon’s constitution for Italy.

What caught my attention is the reservations the Cisalpine Republic representatives had towards it – the hosts quote Harry Hearder, author of Italy in the Age of the Risorgimento 1790 – 1870:
(At 34 min 30 sec mark, or page 25 of Hearder’s book)
The dictatorship, however, as always, was concealed behind a complicated constitution, which allowed for electoral colleges, legislatives houses, and a Censura of 21 men – bodies which were not elected by the public, but either appointed by Napoleon, or elected by each other in impotent vicious circles.

And I thought “My god – he just described the EU.”

The hosts quote Hearder further:
In practice five or six hundred men – landowners, businessmen, or intellectuals sympathetic to the French – were nominated either directly or indirectly by Bonaparte.

And I thought “Yep, that’s the EU.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mort au régime ancien

On the cusp of Thanksgiving.

Found out the Friday Stocks & Jocks will be a repeat when I sent an email on the guest I booked for the show. Luckily (?) Chief replied to all there's no show. (That's my reaction in photo to the left.)

Via Zero Hedge read a Reuters story from Dave McKinney (nee Chicago Sun-Times) on another aspect of Illinois' fiscal turpitude.

Illinois fix to unpaid bills may end up as financial time bomb
The amount of overdue bills could reach $13.5 billion, or 40 percent of available operating revenue, when the current fiscal year ends June 30, the Rauner administration has projected.
Come fiscal 2022, the backlog is projected to balloon to $47 billion. No other U.S. state defers payments to the extent Illinois does to manage cash flow, credit-rating analysts said.
 Holiday wishes from John McLaughlin:

Thanksgiving lessons learned from WKRP in Cincinnati: