Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A new day. A new version

What a conservative thinks about Trump in Helsinki

Bret Stephens was a deputy editor with the Wall Street Journal. Here is an excerpt from a conversation with Gail Collins of The NY Times:

Also, I’m thinking about just what Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and the rest of right-wing punditry would be saying if it had been President Barack Obama at that podium, saying the sort of things Trump was saying, not to mention the way he said it.

They’d call him the Manchurian Candidate. They’d accuse him of treason. They’d call for an armed insurrection or something close to it. They’d say he hates America. And they wouldn’t be wrong. Here is a president of the United States who repeatedly blames America first; who takes the word of a former K.G.B. agent over his own intelligence agencies; who promises to work constructively with a despot whose regime kills journalists, shoots down civilian airliners and uses nerve agents to assassinate its enemies abroad; and who aims his rhetorical fire on an opposing party instead of an enemy government. And the Make America Great Again crowd, with an exception or two, says pretty much nothing, or averts its gaze, or switches the subject.

I’m not speechless, exactly. But as a disaffected conservative, I just feel like someone who’s trying to scream while underwater.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The obituary of a 5-year-old written by himself (and his parents?)

Garrett Michael Matthias
AKA “The Great Garrett Underpants”
3/26/13 – 7/6/18

My name is: Garrett Michael Boofias
My birthday is: I am 5 years old
My address is: I am a Bulldog!
My favorite color is: Blue….and Red and Black and Green
My favorite superhero is: Batman…and Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and Cyborg
When I grow up: I’m going to be a professional boxer

My favorite people are:
• Mommy, Daddy, my sister ‘Delcina’ (Delphina),
• The grandparents with the new house (Fredric and Cheryl Krueger),
• The grandparents with the camper (Daniel and Nita Matthias), 
• My cousins: Grady, ‘that guy I took down that one time’ (Luke), and London Marie, 
• My Auntie Janette and Stinky Uncle Andy (Andrew and Janette Krueger),
• Those two guys, you know, my uncles (Kristopfer Krueger and James Taylor)
• Batman!!

The things I love the most:
Playing with my sister, my blue bunny, thrash metal, Legos, my daycare friends, Batman and when they put me to sleep before they access my port Things I hate: Pants!, dirty stupid cancer, when they access my port, needles, and the monkey nose that smells like cherry farts…I do like the mint monkey nose like at Mayo Radiation and that one guy that helped me build Legos (Randy)

When I die: I am going to be a gorilla and throw poo at Daddy!

Burned or Buried: I want to be burned (like when Thor’s Mommy died) and made into a tree so I can live in it when I’m a gorilla
Big or Small Funeral: Funerals are sad: I want 5 bouncy houses (because I’m 5), Batman, and snow cones

World Trade in 2015

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What the Russians think of us

A Russian research institute did a study of Russians' attitudes to the U.S

They first asked how Russians viewed Trump. The results:
Self-centered 77%
Dangerous     58%
Charismatic   49%
Strong            34%
Trustworthy   16%
The second question was how they viewed Americans. The results:
Interferes with affairs of other countries 86%
Aggressive                                               76%
Advanced science and technology           73%
Influential                                                 66%
High crime                                                57%
High standard of living                             57%
High inequality                                         50%
Immoral                                                    45%
Democratic                                               37%
Open to the world                                     26%
Trustworthy                                              13%
Finally, do they want to be closer to us. The results:
                    Strengthen Ties         No change           Reduce
Cultural ties           54%                      28%                    7%
Security ties           52%                      26%                    8%
Political ties           51%                      27%                    9%
Economic ties        46%                      29%                   13% 

Sex differences in dementia

Studies are still being done, but it looks like two-thirds of dementia-related deaths happen to women. This could be because of age. The older you are, the more likely you are to develop late-onset Alzheimer’s. Women typically live longer than men, so more have dementia. 

Some other observations:
Dementia  is the leading cause of death in women in Australia, England, Wales and America.
Some risk factors - depression, surgical menopause, pregnancy complications, caregiving - affect primarily women. 

Dementia is a growing problem. Globally, experts estimate that 75 million people will live with dementia by 2030 and 131.5 million by 2050. Most are women.

Clean oil spills with hair?

Making a friend

Nuclear Tests

This guy is an Arizona State Representative

Would you like to live in this Greenland village?



This iceberg measures roughly 650 feet wide, is about 300 feet high and weighs up to 11 million tons. Will it break and, then, tumble into the ocean and unleash an enormous wave on the settlement?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Analyzing a Trump speech

This is a follow-up to my earlier post today.

The Washington Post has been fact-checking Trump's speeches since the beginning. The latest one they looked at was his Montana rally on July 5. 

In this talk Trump made 98 statements of fact. The Post found that 45 statements were false or mostly false, 25 were misleading, 24 were accurate or mostly accurate, and four were unsupported.  That's about three of every four statements.  Two of his more egregious claims were - he draws bigger crowds than Elton John and he was the first Republican to win Wisconsin since 1952.

Then, he has the other problem of changing his 'mind' almost every day. Witness his statements re NATO and Prime Minster May.

What is wrong with this guy?

“You know, a poll just came out that I am the most popular person in the history of the Republican Party — 92 per cent," Trump told the British newspaper The Sun. "Beating Lincoln. I beat our Honest Abe."

But, George W Bush had 98% approval among Republicans in April 2002. And a poll out this week found that Ronald Reagan is the most popular Republican president in respondents' lifetimes.

Comments on a trade war

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Huge Four

In March there were 1,812 commercial banks in the United States holding consolidated assets of $300 million or more. Of those 1,812 banks, just four banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup’s Citibank) held 45 percent of the consolidated assets of those 1,812 banks. A recent FDIC report shows there are 5,606 insured banks in total holding $17.531 trillion in assets. Four banks - JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup’s Citibank - hold 40.42 percent of the assets of all the insured banks in the country.

Where have the pilots gone?

In 1987 there were 827,000 pilots in the U.S. Today, there are less than 600,000. Where did they go? How could they go when air travel has increased quite a bit? 

Part of the reason is that the Air Force in the 20th century trained about two-thirds of the pilots. This was before today's use of drones by the military. Now, most pilots have to pay for their training, which exceeds $100,000. The 1978 Airline Deregulation Act and 9/11 wreaked financial damage to major legacy airlines, five of whom declared bankruptcy.

66 years of work destroyed