America’s Cup in San Francisco Bay

All photos below courtesy of rulenumberone2 via Flickr.

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Climate Change and Global Warming in Chile

It’s a good thing the “global warming” movement changed it’s name to the broader “climate change” because Chile suffered the coldest winter in 80 years. Arctic and Antarctic ice is spreading and Chilean fruit growers have lost millions of pounds of food. I’m suffering here in the USA, too, unable to buy nutritious blueberries from Chile and Argentina because of the freeze, forcing me to eat alternative food with antioxidents such as strawberries.

According to the Daily Caller:

Estimates put the total damage to Chilean crops at $1 billion. Reuters reports that between 35 percent and 61 percent of stone fruit crops were damaged, 57 percent of almonds, 48 percent of kiwis and 20 percent of grapes. The U.S. imports about 42 percent of the country’s grapes….

“All throughout November, December and January, prices of peaches, nectarines and plums will be higher because there will be shortages,” said Cristián Allendes, president of the Federation Fruit Producers. ”There will be half the volume of a normal year, so it is impossible for them to cost the same.”

….September also brought with it record levels of arctic sea-ice coverage — only six years after the BBC reported that global warming would eliminate arctic sea ice by 2013.

Antarctica also experienced record levels of sea ice in September, with 7.51 million square miles surrounding the continent. This beat out the previous sea-ice coverage record, set in 2012.

The BBC claimed in December, 2007:

Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years. Professor Wieslaw Maslowski told an American Geophysical Union meeting that previous projections had underestimated the processes now driving ice loss. Summer melting this year reduced the ice cover to 4.13 million sq km, the smallest ever extent in modern times.

Remarkably, this stunning low point was not even incorporated into the model runs of Professor Maslowski and his team, which used data sets from 1979 to 2004 to constrain their future projections.

“Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,” the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC.

“So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.”

Exposing the claims of junk scientists is much easier today than it was 30 years ago, thanks to the Internet. I hope that forces people to temper their enthusiasm but I’m not optimistic. The world will probably always be stuffed with quacks who dupe politicians and other gullible people.

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What’s the Difference Between a Partner and a Customer?

The Motley Fool reports:

Hewlett-Packard (HP) now sees Microsoft as a competitor. For years, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft had a strong partnership — but evidently, those days are over. The widespread backlash to Windows 8, combined with Microsoft’s decision to release its own, competing hardware, has alienated Hewlett-Packard.

And while Microsoft looks to be on the verge of losing one of its longtime partners, Google is gaining one — Hewlett-Packard has eagerly embraced both of Google’s operating systems.

Contrary to what the Motley Fool claims, HP is not a partner of Google or Microsoft. They would be a partner only if they owned a large portion of Google or Microsoft. HP owns little or no stock in Microsoft or Google; HP is a customer that makes hardware and buys software from others. In other words, they are a customer of Microsoft and Google. In addition, Google and Samsung are not partners, either. Instead, Samsung is a Google customer.

Customers can easily find other suppliers but it costs much more to find a new partner. Use language precisely if you want to appear intelligent. You gain nothing by prematurely revealing your stupidity.

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President Obama Invests in Chile Solar

President Obama has invested $200m in a solar plant in the Atacama Desert in Chile using one of his venture capital funds, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (“OPIC”). The “Private” moniker is a fraud as it is wholly owned government entity. OPIC is financing 70% while the remainder is privately owned by three companies, including SunPower of the USA.

Have you ever why the USA is going bankrupt? One reason is that the government is involved in many areas such as venture capital that ought to be the domain of private industry.

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Today is the Worst Day in History

Dan Mitchell writes:

Allow me to suggest that today, October 3, should be a candidate for America’s worst day. Why? Because on this day in 1913, one of America’s worst Presidents, Woodrow Wilson, signed into law the Revenue Act of 1913, which imposed the income tax. The worst thing about that law is not the tax rates, the double taxation, or the complexity. The worst thing is that the income tax enabled the modern welfare state.

Before the income tax, politicians had no way to finance big government. Their only significant pre-1913 sources of revenue were tariffs and excise taxes, and they couldn’t raise those tax rates too high. Once the income tax was adopted, though, it became a lot easier to finance subsidies, handouts, and redistribution.

And as government becomes bigger and bigger, diverting more and more resources from the productive sector of the economy, we can expect more stagnation and misery. That’s why October 3 is an awful day in American history.

It’s hard to know what is the worst thing about the income tax but I reckon that it punishes people who work and invest. That could never be good policy! Government funds raised by the income tax have mostly been used to establish the welfare state but it would have been as bad to squander the funds on foreign military adventures. Welfare and warfare are evil twins. Welfare is a civil war between industrious people and parasitic people.

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Is Mexico the New Land of Opportunity?

Damien Cave of the New York Times reports that Mexico is attracting migrants:

Mexico, whose economic woes have pushed millions of people north, is increasingly becoming an immigrant destination. The country’s documented foreign-born population nearly doubled between 2000 and 2010, and officials say the pace is accelerating as changes in the global economy create new dynamics of migration.

Rising wages in China and higher transportation costs have made Mexican manufacturing highly competitive again, with some projections suggesting that it is already cheaper than China for many industries serving the U.S. market. Europe is sputtering, pushing workers away.

And while Mexico’s economy is far from trouble free, its economic growth easily outpaced the giants of the hemisphere — the U.S., Canada and Brazil — in 2011 and 2012, according to International Monetary Fund data.

Mary and I lived in Mexico for 4 winters because it has great people and climate and is close to the USA. Many people are afraid of the country because it is plagued with crime and a civil war on drug merchants but we have avoided problems. We met emigrants from the USA, Canada, Britain, and Italy but none from Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, or Argentina.

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Is Mark Zuckerberg Working for the CIA?

As one of the Elite 1000 Facebook Boycotters Under 60, I’m amused by The Onion News Network video below:

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A Chilean Works in Canada

From Jamie Moreno at Quora, commenting on What facts about the United States do foreigners not believe until they come to America?

When my husband moved here (to Canada) he was a Chilean living in Spain. When he first arrived, he couldn’t believe how little we had to work for such money, and how we had the audacity to complain about being “overworked.” He was surprised that he could make enough to pay bills, buy groceries, pay rent, and still afford a social life and luxuries like our xbox while working as a pizza chef. Back home, he was working 12-16 hour days 6 days a week, with an extra 6 hour shift on Sundays, and he was making half as much. He had to work 8 months (while living with his mother) to afford the ~$4000 that constituted his plane tickets and first two months living expenses.

Now, he is lazy and entitled like the rest of us.

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Gratitude: The Secret to Happiness

Tyler Cowen of the Marginal Revolution blog discusses the politics of envy, stealing from some people to appease others:

Almost all redistributive rhetoric urges people to dwell on the negative – you or other people aren’t getting what is due. This in turn makes people want to “do something” about the problem. And you can rest assured that no matter how much redistribution there is, egalitarians will never say “OK, life’s fair now. We’re done complaining.” No, what they foster is literally a lifestyle of ingratitude – a recipe for unhappiness.

If we really want to make people happier, we would do almost the opposite. Tell people to be grateful for what the market gives them, and try to emulate more successful people instead of envying them. Children hear this all the time, and it is damn good advice. Adults should practice what they preach.

The USA is a fearful country full of insecurities so what do they lack? Food security, energy security, economic security, national security, border security; and Unitedstatesians will never phase out Social Security, lacking confidence that they can care for themselves, like a small fearful child meeting a stranger or a dog in a thunderous rain storm. The President is trying to sell middle class security. Can anyone escape insecurity? Why make yourself unhappy dwelling on things that can’t change? Instead, let’s celebrate the jackrabbit who darts around in a crooked pattern, living a better life than an animal that expects to stand still without being chased or eaten!

Politicians gather votes by exaggerating gun violence and drug use while both decline; psychologists win government grants by creating diseases and medical researchers lie about the prevalence of uncommon diseases. Citizens tolerate tyranny such as the massive growth of police with military weapons and the demonization of Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, heroes shining lights on pervasive government corruption. Americans are prisoners of fear:

We have warped a generation, producing manic children conditioned to fear everything — can’t walk to the bus stop alone because you’ll be kidnapped; can’t ride a bike because you’ll get hit by a car (despite a Kevlar helmet and 78 protective pads); can’t play sports because you might get injured; can’t play cops-and-robbers because you might become a mass murderer; can’t settle your own disputes on the playground, so parents must pick their children’s teams. Everything is so precisely planned and organized — what the hell is a “play date?” — by helicopter parents obsessively hovering over their children. The creativity and curiosity that comes with being a child has been erased, replaced with a structure so unnatural that social skills are nearly nonexistent.

But it doesn’t stop there. We have ingrained such an irrational fear of suffering “hurt feelings” that many teachers don’t grade tests (some would do better than others, so it’s best to make everything equal and tell everyone “good job”), we don’t keep score at sports games and league standings are often taken offline so as to not offend the last-place team. Everyone gets a trophy because we have mandated a homogenous society, and individual achievement is often frowned upon if not outright ridiculed.

Can you enjoy the pursuit of happiness while continuing to elect socialists? Try the alternative; boycott the next election! Be grateful for voters who waste their time while you enjoy a good party!

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Jackie Robinson Shows How Profits Eliminate Racism

I recently read Jackie Robinson’s autobiography, I Never Had It Made, where he describes his first job after retiring from baseball, working for Bill Black of Chock Full O’Nuts.

William Black, a white businessman who was the founder-owner of the Chock Full O’Nuts Corporation, had started off in business selling nuts of various kinds. Business was so good that he moved to a larger location, one which had room for people to come in and stand at the counter. Soon Bill Black was in the restaurant business offering a limited number of rapidly prepared items at reasonable prices and with swift and polite service. The next step was to open chains of shops all over New York City and then to offer franchises and to sell his coffee and some of his other products in retail grocery stores. Bill Black became a millionaire with a flourishing business that eventually became a publicly owned company.

I was amused to learn that, in the minds of some bigoted people, Mr. Black was considered guilty of racial discrimination in hiring. The majority of his employees were blacks. A few racists referred to his company as, “Chock Full O’Niggers.” Mr. Black once faced the charge that he was discriminating against whites. He took out a full-page ad in some newspapers explaining in the ad that when he was organizing his business, he had serious problems hiring countergirls and other people necessary to a restaurant. Black men and women who were so severely discriminated against in employment areas were easier for him to get than whites. Since he didn’t give a damn about skin color if a person could do the job, he had hired black people. The ad went on to assure whites that if they applied, they would not be mistreated.

Robinson also wrote that even racist Dodgers gave him hitting tips in the hope that it would help them earn a few thousand dollars bonus for playing in the World Series. Economist David Henderson was similarly moved:

Last week, my wife and I saw the movie, “42.” It’s about Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, hiring Jackie Robinson to play baseball for him in the mid to late 1940s. I recommend the movie.

Besides being a good movie, it’s a beautiful illustration of what Gary Becker writes about in his seminal book, The Economics of Discrimination. My wife is not an economist, but she has lived with one for 31 years. About half an hour in to the movie, she said, “Wow. You would really have to be paying no attention to miss the message about how the profit motive undercuts [racial] discrimination.”

Some people refuse to accept the idea that profits undercut racism, according to Russ Paielli:

Based on a flawed study by the Boston Fed in 1992 (coauthored by an economist friend of Hillary), the Democrats claimed that minority homeownership rates were being held back by “racist” banking practices. The study found that minorities had a higher rejection rate for home loan applications than the general public. Without providing any direct evidence, the authors simply assumed that the underlying cause must be institutional racism in the banking industry.

Common sense tells us, however, that racist lending practices would backfire and harm no one except the very banks, if any, that engaged in such practices. If some banks were willing to pass up good business opportunities in order to deny loans to minorities, other banks would certainly be more than happy to step in and take the business. And if all white-owned banks were racist, a golden opportunity would exist for wealthy minorities (or non-racist whites) to open banks in under-served areas and do a booming business with little effort. Any wealthy entertainer or athlete, such as Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, or any of hundreds of other wealthy athletes, could easily sponsor such a bank, for example. To believe that racist banks can stop qualified minorities from getting loans in this day and age, one must believe that (1) all white-owned banks are racist, and (2) no wealthy minorities (or non-racist whites) are willing to fill the void and make lots of easy money while providing badly needed services to minority communities.

But the Clintons and many other Democrats apparently believed such economic nonsense. To remedy the alleged racism at banks, they strengthened the “anti-redlining” regulations of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which had originally been passed during the Carter years, and they instituted an aggressive campaign that forced lenders to abandon their established underwriting criteria and drastically lower their standards to accommodate minorities who would not otherwise qualify for a home loan.

Jackie Robinson was a wealthy black who thought that white banks were refusing to loan money to blacks to buy houses, so he started the Freedom National Bank in Harlem, and hired a successful black banker, William Hudgins, as manager. He describes in his book his hope that the success of his bank would force white banks to loan money to blacks, but he struggled to make the bank profitable. Robinson lived in Connecticut rather than Harlem, a mark against him and Hudgins in the minds of tribal blacks:

To the skeptics, the Freedom National Bank is simply an example of middle-class Negroes taking advantage of race sympathy for their own personal gain. To them, Hudgins’ bank, like the other ten, white-run, banks in Harlem, is one more part of the power structure, one more reason why Harlem is an economic colony of New York City. They feel that Negro bankers who live outside Harlem–as do almost all of Freedom National’s 50 employees–can drain money out of Harlem just as effectively as the white businessmen who own almost all of Harlem’s stores. Black bankers do not help Harlemites, they maintain, they help themselves.

I suppose Mexicans and Canadians feel like they’re a colony of the USA but on the bright side, living next to a huge mass of rich people makes it easy to ship goods to potential customers. The bank failed because black borrowers didn’t repay their loans:

Federal regulators will only say the bank failed because of “bad loans” and “mismanagement.” But through interviews with former bank officials and a review of Federal bank examiners’ reports, there emerges a detailed account of the bank’s snowballing decline. These are some of the bank regulators’ findings:

*Before the bank was closed, it reported that more than 11 percent of its loan portfolio was either in default or far behind in payment, twice the city average. Many of those loans were made without adequate collateral, regulators said. And though most of Freedom’s loans did go to minority entrepreneurs in New York, Federal regulators say that as a small community bank, it made an unusual number of loans outside its lending area.

In 1988, regulators identified $2 million in problem loans that were not in the bank’s reports to the Comptroller’s office. Over all, $6.8 million in commercial loans lacked current credit information, the examiner wrote.

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