We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, March 10. 2020
Death comes for Max von Sydow.
The Stock Market Is Tanking. Do Nothing. Timing the market is a game for professionals, not amateurs. And most professionals are terrible at it too.
"There Is No Liquidity" - Market Paralyzed As FRA/OIS Explodes
Algos now rule the markets
The archaeology of Armageddon - After a century of digging, archaeologists are still tantalized by the secrets of the 7,000-year-old city of Megiddo.
The Virus and the Economy - Widespread quarantines and shutdowns of industries have human costs, too.
Not everybody can "work from home"
Syracuse U. protesters promise ‘escalation’ if officials don’t acknowledge ‘white supremacy’
As Top Historians Ring Alarm Bells About NYT’s 1619 Project, Defiant Public Schools Refuse To Answer Questions
Health Care Is a Right Only if Doctors Surrender Theirs
VDH: California Is a Cruel Medieval State. The Golden State has become a cruel and unusual place because callousness and narcissism were redefined as caring and compassion.
Major Crimes in New York City Spike 22 Percent in February and Cops Blame New Bail Law
Here’s How Eric Holder Helped the Obama Administration Transform the Democratic Party into a Party of Thugs
Why Do the 2020 Democrats Lie About Everything?
Bernie Sanders is Funded by the Wealthiest Zip Codes in America
Elizabeth Warren's Former Staffers Insult the Media For Not "Actively Supporting" Warren's Campaign
But they did
What Is Bloomberg Thinking?
The Spread Of COVID-19 In Iran May Be Far Worse Than Reported
Virus report from Italy
Greek Troops Open Fire on Refugees While Vigilantes Attack Aid Workers and the Media
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"Time in the Market beats Timing the Market". Indeed.
My MIL is freaking out. She's on a fixed income and depends on distributions from her investment portfolio to pay the bills. We are trying to reassure her that this will pass, but she can't help worrying.
As wise men have said on many occasions, "No one ever made money by selling into a panic."
When you are retired and have to sell a small part of your portfolio each month to pay the bills, a down market is a problem. Why is this so hard to understand?
And that's exactly the thing. If you're in your 30-40s, barring an extended downturn, you may be able to recoup losses in your portfolio. OTOH, if you're in your 50-60s you'd be a little crazy to not be concerned. If you're living on that portfolio, then absolutely be worried...not panicked...but worried.
Be worried to what purpose? What are you going to do?
As a Syracuse graduate, I can say that most of the alumni I know (on both sides of the political aisle, and SU is overwhelmingly Progressive, and was when I attended), are pretty much done with the Chancellor.
He's shown himself to be weak and ineffective. I met him several years ago, and several times since I've had the opportunity to meet and speak.
Would he know me from Adam? No. But my impression was, at first, that he was visionary and forward-thinking. He had good ideas for big projects that needed to get done - and he listened to parents of students (my son was attending).
However, since my son was there and in the 2 years since his graduation, Syverud has increasingly proven to be a terrible leader with bad social justice awareness blindspots. In other words, he's an unrepentant Social Justice Warrior who has had the SJW war brought to his doorstep and suddenly realized it's not a battle you win by being on "their side" because they turn on you as soon as possible.
The fact is, these people are always out for their ounce of flesh, and once they get it they want a pound of it. I knew this would happen to him a few years back when I saw him dealing with the fraternity and sorority system - caving to the whims of the non-aligned students who believe these groups were 'elitist' and 'exclusive' clubs. They are anything BUT that, and if you belonged to one (as I, and my sons, did) you could understand this. If anything, we drove more inclusion on campus than other groups - raising money for disadvantaged and disabled groups, raising awareness, and actively working with the community. That kind of stuff tends to get lost in the shuffle, because all you need is one drunk 'frat boy' to make everyone look bad. Otter's speech in "Animal House" is, oddly, very accurate in today's world.
At any rate, the insight I gained as a representative of my fraternity's alumni association, seeing how Syverud would deal with the issues facing him internally on that front, proved he was NOT up for the job if the real world smacked him in the face. And it did. He caved to the students and now he has to deal with his inability to be a good leader and guide to life for students who desperately need leaders and guides (even if they think they don't).
Long ago, I remember saying to my mother (a Progressive in her own right) that I had no respect for the Chancellor of Syracuse while I attended because he had been named "Businessman of the Year" in Syracuse. How could the Chancellor of an educational facility garner that title? Surely something was amiss.
My mother's reply smacked me upside the head. "It seems to me that anyone who can successfully run what amounts to a non-profit organization, and integrate it and the students into the local community successfully, is a good businessman and a good leader."
Totally changed my outlook on the role of chancellor. But I am saddened by what is occurring at my alma mater the last few years. Higher education isn't what it used to be...
re The Virus
Infectious Disease Expert Warns of the Consequences of Needless Coronavirus Panic
I’m scared those same epidemic fears will limit trade, harm partnerships in multiple sectors, business and otherwise and ultimately culminate in a global recession.
But mostly, I’m scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, openmindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested.
Greece and Europe are being invaded. Defending their borders and countries with live fire is just the first step. They must act quickly and effectively if they wish to survive.
Those small countries have been invaded by barbarians numerous times. They never have the resources to protect themselves. What do you suppose the other larger European powers will do when more of the barbarians arrive at their doors? I think they too are not able, nor willing, to defend themselves.
Greece has a 90,000-man army with the potential to be doubled very quickly.
Nothing clears the mind like seeing one or more of your fellow invaders shot dead trying to climb the wall/fence. The ONLY reason there is this invasion is because it is allowed. If it were met with live fire it would end in seconds.
Unfortunately I would agree with you on that statement. Didn't they used to hold public executions to deter crime? Now it seems they regard those that do wrong.
A few thoughts as a current U.S. DOD civ employee living in Italy:
- Italian population is 2nd oldest in the world (behind Japan)
- Most elderly still smoke, exacerbating impacts of what is a respiratory virus
- Gov healthcare is "renowned" except that it doesn't typically do any restorative (only palliative) care after age 60. "Here's a glass of wine, Nonna. Sorry you're sick. Be well soon." Number of elderly deaths is sad but not surprising.
- Italian households are multigenerational and kids are COVID-19 carriers (rarely symptomatic) so closing schools to protect grandparents makes sense here, doesn't make sense in the U.S.
- Italian government is aided by U.S. government testing, so they're finding cases "everywhere" they look. High incident rate is being driven in part by higher discovery rates than elsewhere in Europe.
- True about what Limbaugh said yesterday about Venice and Milan being Chinese hot spots for vacations and businessmen.
- Italy govt closed Northern Italy last week. Unfortunately they announced they would close it the day before they actually did, so many thousands hopped trains for Rome/Naples/Parts South. But as a colleague (she has an Italian spouse) put it,
"Meh." nobody cares about Southern Italy. Just Neapolitans and Sicilians.
So we're locked down here, and need a letter to go to-from work. No doubt that military brass want to go along with NATO/Italian brass and governments to avoid rocking the boat, since we're all ultimately just guests in these countries.
Many U.S. are looking at telecommuting just to avoid hassles. All of the Italians I've talked with (land lord, business owners, etc) are infuriated at the idea of being sidelined by seasonal flu.
Meanwhile, we're stocking up on vino as an anti-oxidant cure in case the bug comes callin…..
Ok, so if older folks don't warrant heroic measures, who is occupying all the ICU, and hospital beds, and ventilators?
Also, I understand that Northern Italy has a significant migrant population.
"migrants…" Good point. There are for sure, but not clear about those impacts on contagious diseases. They're generally younger and in good health, and seem to be kept at a distance from the general population in my own experience, which could suggest they're less of a factor. A few journal articles suggest nothing definitive:
"Who is occupying..." Patients, I would assume.
Regarding Nancy Pelosi's dire warning about Western Civilisation being at stake: Politicians, in their narcissism, interpret what is good for them and their power personally as representative of what is good for the state, or the nation, or even The World. She is sensing, perhaps accurately, that her status, her culture, is at stake. Recognising that they equate their needs with the country's provides a window into their thinking.
Conservatives do it too, but less often and less intensely, I find.
Well said. I've had that thought in mind for some time, but could never verbalize it properly.
I think Nancy Pelosi is absolutely correct to say that civilization as we know it is at stake in 2020. Your mistake is in thinking she was warning us rather than promising us. She's not alarmed by the barbarians at the gates, she's their leader.
1619 Project: Just one more reason for me to despise, detest, and distrust the NYT. The WaPoo, too.
Think of the NYTimes as the Carlos Slim blog and the Wapo as the Bezos blog. Journalism died at their blogs long ago.
First time visiting your website, I really like your website!
Re: Healthcare is a Right.
There are four major forces at work behind the claim that healthcare is a right. The first is the legitimate fact that elderly receive great health care;while young people receive terrible health care. So those concerned about this obvious inequality believe that if they make healthcare a right, then young people will have access to the same medical treatments as the old. On the surface, that looks like a valid argument. But a problem arises when you try to apply numbers. Our medical system is running a huge deficit. So increasing the burden on the system by adding millions more people will only hasten its collapse. There are four groups who benefit from the healthcare is a right argument, here they are:
1. The elderly, who believe that they have a right to unlimited free medical care.
2. Blacks, homosexuals, and drug addicts who wish to transmit HIV through their lifestyle choices, and then be compensated.
3. The Medical System, which makes a lot of money providing care to everyone.
4. The government, who wishes to make free medical care first a right; and then a legal obligation.
To understand how these four groups interact on a political level, one only consider the attempt by the government to ban tobacco. They claim that tobacco causes cancer, but it does not. The real reason for the tobacco ban is two-fold: First, it allows the government to "moralize" about something. That's important for a corrupt group of crooks who want to look like "good people". And it also changes the subject. As you may note, there isn't one word of warning about the HIV epidemic which is sweeping the country. In some black areas, more than fifty percent of the population is HIV positive. It's a true national health crisis, but talking about it is forbidden. Why? Because as far as Washington is concerned, the more HIV positive people, the better. All of them will need lifetime medical care. And even better, being "sick" will start to be viewed as a normal condition. According to the Institute of Mental Health, one in five Americans is mentally ill. Therefore, in the future everyone will be legally obligated to follow the instructions of their avatar doctor. Your iPhone will measure your heart rate, and report you to the Police if you get angry. The purest possible tyranny.
There is no halfway solution to all of this. It's impossible to create a system which for political reasons, grants different levels of care to different kinds of people. That's ridiculous. The only answer is to shut-down all medical reimbursement systems. Hospitals can no longer bill public or private insurers for anything. Not one thin dime. Medicare no longer exists.
That won't be the end of medical care. Believe it or not, the people who run hospitals are adults. They will adapt to the new system; which is based upon four rules.
1. Medical Care may not be financed. Directly or Indirectly. You can't take out a loan to pay for your Dad's heart surgery.
2. Medical Care is strictly palliative. No heroic life saving measures. Just normal drugs, and minor surgeries.
3. Medical Care is offered on a best-effort basis. The Hospitals and Staff will have medical immunity. They can't be sued.
4. No foreign persons who are in the country illegally may enter a hospital, for any reason.
If we make these changes, a lot of good things will happen. To start, persons involved in the practice of medicine will no longer need a license. Anyone can call himself a doctor or a nurse. If a woman knows a lot about medicinal herbs, she can operate a clinic. There are no restrictions at all. People will learn to pay cash, and to look at medicine as a much more holistic experience. The government, and the corrupt F.D.A. money-machine will have nothing to do with it.
People will be free to do what they think is best.