Friday, August 10, 2012

Short Subjects for August

Just a few thoughts on some recent items in the news:
  • Sheldon Adelson — Shelly was in the front row while Mitt compared Israeli and Palestinian "culture," which doubtless inspired even more tens of millions in campaign contributions.  The money, of course, comes from Shelly's gambling empire (which may or may not include tolerance for prostitution at the hotel/casino in Macao.)  Didn't somebody tell me Mormons are morally opposed to gambling?  Didn't somebody tell Mitt?
  • High Frequency Trading — Program traders have rapidly pushed ordinary retail investors out of the market.  How can a human being compete with a machine?  To bring back the kinds of investors who buy and hold, and make the markets less senselessly volatile, we truly need a Tobin tax— a tiny tax on transactions that would eliminate the profit margin when software, in microseconds, buys and sells stock to profit on miniscule changes in price.
  • Bloomberg and the Big Gulp —  Most of us were taught to eat whatever was put in front of us, whether or not we really wanted it.  Put less in front of us, and we consume less, with no loss of liberty but maybe a little loss of weight.  If you really need 48 ounces, you can always buy three 16s.
  • Welfare Reform — Sometimes a state has special circumstances, or maybe just a better idea on how to administer welfare.  Giving it an exemption from the letter of the law provided it can put 20% more people in jobs cannot possibly be construed as removing the work requirement from the Clinton welfare reforms... unless, of course, you can't, won't, or just don't read.  Republicans, of course, like non-readers.  Non-readers are much easier to fool.
  • Monoculture — It's pretty clear by now that this year's drought is doing a lot more damage because corn has short roots, and because it's pretty much all we grow anymore.  What the hell.  Most of it goes to feed lots and ethanol anyway, so you won't have to pass up that enormous bucket of grease soaked popcorn when you go to the movies.  (HeyBloomberg!)

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