Happy Christmas Ties

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‘Tis the Season.

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Christmas Tie Season 2017!

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It’s that time of year again. I hereby declare Christmas Tie Season has arrived.

Oddly, I do this even on a day when I forgot to leave the house wearing one. Come to think of it, I may have to dig the trove out of storage…

At any rate, here’s my video from last year heralding the joyous event:

Perrin Lovett/YouTube.

The spectacle will improve tomorrow. Honest…

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Have Hydrazine, Will Travel

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Over 40 years and 141 AUs after launch Voyager 1 is still rocking along.

At present, the Voyager 1 spacecraft is 21 billion kilometers from Earth, or about 141 times the distance between the Earth and Sun. It has, in fact, moved beyond our Solar System into interstellar space. However, we can still communicate with Voyager across that distance.

This week, the scientists and engineers on the Voyager team did something very special. They commanded the spacecraft to fire a set of four trajectory thrusters for the first time in 37 years to determine their ability to orient the spacecraft using 10-millisecond pulses.

After sending the commands on Tuesday, it took 19 hours and 35 minutes for the signal to reach Voyager. Then, the Earth-bound spacecraft team had to wait another 19 hours and 35 minutes to see if the spacecraft responded. It did. After nearly four decades of dormancy, the Aerojet Rocketdyne manufactured thrusters fired perfectly.

File this one away under “pretty cool;” another of man’s most impressive, if quiet and distant, little accomplishments.

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Seriously, Don’t Talk

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The cops: DO NOT talk to them.

Mike Flynn, today, surely reflects on his fateful decision to discuss matters with the FBI. The FBI are the police. Thus, one should not speak to them.* If you’re not talking, you’re not lying. If you talk and they say you lie, you’re a liar. You get convicted. Felony. Their B—-h going forward. Blah. Blah.

You have the right to remain silent for a reason. Remember that. Anything you say can AND WILL be used against you.

All this talk about “Ty Cobb” have anyone else thinking baseball?

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Mimesis/Universal.

*The exceptions would be if you’re superhuman or if you’re talking to a cop, over beers, in his driveway about something that doesn’t really concern either of you…

Okay, Happy December. November, and prior months, have been pretty slow. I’m thinking about a “lightening” round to clear out drafts and such without much additional commentary – and to boost reading, etc. This would be an example. Look for more. Click.

The Christmas ties are coming…

Tipping the Scales: Think of the Children

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It’s a growing problem: the rounding of America. 57%+ of our children are on track to be obese by age 35:

More than 57 percent of children in the United States will be obese by age 35 if current trends in weight gain and poor eating habits continue, researchers warned Wednesday.

The risk of obesity is high even among children whose present weight is normal, said the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Only those children with a current healthy weight have less than a 50 percent chance of becoming obese by the age of 35 years,” said the study, led by researchers at Harvard University.

Some 36.5 percent of the US adult population is now considered obese, a condition federal health officials define as having a body mass index of 30 or higher.

This future prediction mirrors existing adult trends, with over 70% of our population either just overweight or outright obese. If 57% of the next-gen adults are in the later category, how many will fall into the former? What’s the overall chart going to look like? 80%? 95? All of ’em??

A seemingly unrelated story about a lobster might explain part of the trouble. Might. The Pepsi part, maybe:

“I’m a Pepsi fan 100 per cent. I drink one cup of coffee in the morning and then Pepsi all day. On average it would be about 12 cans.”

12 cans. That’s like 2,000 calories and a month’s worth of sugar. Working on a lobster boat might help burn it. Sitting by the TeeVee or the Xbox will not.

Get up. Move. Exercise. Eat responsibly. Not that hard.

Or, if things, health wise, go south, then go South – to Mexico:

My son had an attack of appendicitis late Saturday night. I knew that the Obamacare inflated prices for surgery in the U.S. would be ridiculous and that the service would likely be impersonal, involve long waits, and be nerve-wracking. I have friends in the medical field so I inquired just for grins. The price for the latest routine appendectomy in my area was, my jaw dropped, $43,000. I read on-line that the average cost for an appendectomy in the U.S. is $33,000. I am not near some of the great direct-pay medical facilities in the U.S. like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, but I am near Mexico. I chose that option since I have often utilized foreign medical and dental facilities in the past and find the service and prices to be outstanding.

The main first rate hospitals in this part of Arizona are run by the Catholic Church. They, of course, operate under the constraints of Obamacare and other onerous U.S. rules and can’t offer pure free-market rates. So, they are pricey along with all the others.

I opted for the nearby private Catholic hospital in Mexico driving past a Catholic hospital in the U.S. en route. I also drove past the state run socialist hospital in Mexico which of course has deplorable service and doesn’t serve Americans anyway. Most of the private hospitals in Mexico have great service, modern equipment and procedures, and affordable prices. You can actually have extensive conversations with surgeons and the rest of the medical staff. They are very patient, respectful, and understanding. We arrived on a Sunday morning. This counted as an emergency after-hours visit. The fees listed below are higher because of the Sunday call-out for surgical personnel and the extra fee for the emergency room doctor that could have been avoided if I had come during normal business hours.

$43,000 in the US, or $3,000 in Mexico – in a modern, efficient Mexico. Medically efficient, that is; they must be getting the government and insurance rackets wrong with prices like that. Something to work towards, amigos.

Think of the children, especially if you don’t live near the border. The roly-poly, not-so-little children…

Also think of that poor, delicious lobster. I wonder if you could successfully add Pepsi to the butter?

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Hey! Hey! Hey! It’s fat lobster! Fat Albert/Bill Cosby.

Goldman Say What?

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Even The Goldman Sachs sees clouds forming:

A prolonged bull market across stocks, bonds and credit has left a measure of average valuation at the highest since 1900, a condition that at some point is going to translate into pain for investors, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“It has seldom been the case that equities, bonds and credit have been similarly expensive at the same time, only in the Roaring ’20s and the Golden ’50s,” Goldman Sachs International strategists including Christian Mueller-Glissman wrote in a note this week. “All good things must come to an end” and “there will be a bear market, eventually” they said.

As central banks cut back their quantitative easing, pushing up the premiums investors demand to hold longer-dated bonds, returns are “likely to be lower across assets” over the medium term, the analysts said. A second, less likely, scenario would involve “fast pain.” Stock and bond valuations would both get hit, with the mix depending on whether the trigger involved a negative growth shock, or a growth shock alongside an inflation pick-up.

I suppose fast pain beats slow and tortuous.

In related news, there was a large cigar:

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A VERY large cigar.

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Yikes!

Of Crime and Punishment and Non-Crime and Punishment

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While in Asia the other week, President Trump secured the release of three high value American prisoners. All good and well, but Lawrence Vance ponders if Trump’s amnestying efforts might be better spent at home.

LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley, who are now on indefinite suspension from the UCLA Bruins basketball team, were in China with their team for a basketball game against Georgia Tech. The trio was arrested after allegedly shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou, China. After being detained for over a week and facing up to ten years in prison, they were released after President Donald Trump intervened on their behalf with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

These are not the only prisoners that Trump should have freed. Far more important are the people imprisoned in the United States for victimless crimes.

The United States is indeed an exceptional nation. It has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. It has over 2 million people behind bars, more than any other nation. And it has the highest per capita prison rate.

A great many of the Americans who are in prison have been incarcerated for victimless crimes, and especially drug crimes. Only violent criminals should be incarcerated, and no one should ever be locked up for committing a victimless crime.

Every crime should have a tangible and identifiable victim with real harm and measurable damages. Rape, robbery, assault, child abuse, battery, burglary, theft, arson, looting, kidnapping, shoplifting, embezzlement, manslaughter, and murder are real crimes. Possessing “illegal” drugs, “illegal” gambling, prostitution, discriminating, price gouging, and ticket scalping are victimless crimes.

Prosecuting Americans for committing victimless crimes turns vices into crimes; unnecessarily makes criminals out of otherwise law-abiding Americans; is an illegitimate function of government; criminalizes voluntary, consensual, peaceful activity; costs far more than any of its supposed benefits; does violence to individual liberty and private property; and is incompatible with a free society.

Committing victimless crimes may be unwise, addictive, unhealthy, risky, immoral, sinful, and/or just plain stupid, but it is not for the government to decide what risks Americans are allowed to take and what kinds of behaviors they are allowed to engage in as long as their actions are peaceful, private, voluntary, and consensual.

According to Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution, the president “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment.” According to the case of Ex parte Garland (1867), the scope of the president’s pardon power is quite broad. And according to United States v. Klein (1871), Congress cannot limit the president’s grant of an amnesty or pardon.

This means that Trump could, today, pardon every American in a federal prison for committing a victimless crime. And like he did for the American basketball players in China, Trump could work to free every American held in a state prison for committing a victimless crime.

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, President Trump followed in the tradition of his predecessors and pardoned a turkey. Better that he ate the turkey and pardoned everyone in a federal prison for a victimless crime and ordered their immediate release. No one should ever be detained by police, arrested, tried, fined, or imprisoned for a victimless crime.

I completely agree with this idea. However, assuming (pointlessly) that we still have a Constitution, all Trump could do with the States would be lobby as he did with China. On the federal front things would be a little easier. Some, most, rather, violent federal inmates would have to freed as well.

That Constitution thing, the parts in, above, and below Article Two, only specifies three crimes. Honestly, if it’s not piracy, counterfeiting, or treason, what business has Washington prosecuting it.

Pardon this interruption…

Don’t Worry, Buy a Tesla!

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Mr. Musk sees a statistically unpleasant outcome from the robot wars:

Elon Musk has been very vocal about his concerns over artificial intelligence, and now the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has quantified his worries.

In a recent talk, Musk claimed that efforts to make AI safe only have ‘a five to 10 per cent chance of success.’

The warning comes shortly after Musk claimed that regulation of artificial intelligence was drastically needed because it’s a ‘fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation.’

Of course, of course – regulation always fixes everything. Trust in the government. See their shining work in eradicating: war, poverty, drugs, terrorism, obesity, etc.

In the meantime, please by a Tesla…

OR!

Buy a FLYING CAR!!!!!

Available in 2020! (2020 in Flying Car advertising talk translates to 2220 in actual time…).

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Hanna Barbera.

The Old, Tired, Overly Expensive, and Utterly Worn Out College Try

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The colleges, what’s left of them, appear to be dying. Jim Goad has the good news at Taki’s Mag – in typical, hilarious Taki style.

“The only intelligent thing to do with modern American colleges is to get rid of them.”

At a symposium in May, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen predicted that “50 percent of the 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years.”

Christensen appears to be onto something. The number of students enrolled in American colleges and universities has dropped every year for the past five years. In 2016, the majority of private and public American colleges failed to meet their enrollment and tuition targets.

This is possibly the best news I’ve heard all year. And not because I’m against learning or education—it’s because American colleges no longer teach people how to think; they command people what to think, with the constant looming Sword of Damocles hanging over the head of anyone foolish enough to express a dissident thought.

American colleges are no longer institutions of higher learning. It would be more apt to refer to them as state-sanctioned seminaries for the secular religion of Cultural Marxism. Instead of strolling out of college with nimbler minds, students now stumble out into the real world with their brains scrubbed clean of the ability to hatch a single independent thought.

A world of useful, free alternatives? Or $40,000+ per year for a piece of paper and some socialist dogma? And the dogma is also available for free on FB and Twitter. Hmmm…