"I'm wearing my bikini," Corinne said as she unbuttoned her overcoat outside the terminal to reveal a black two-piece. "It's not that I'm concerned, it's that I feel like the TSA is making travelers feel uncomfortable, and I feel like we can have security measures that don't make people feel uncomfortable.
The young lady in the embedded video? Positive externality. Definitely positive. Me in a Speedo? Let's not go there.
You have decided that we, the members of the common clave,
people of the land - you know, morons - eat too much salt and must be protected
♪♫ I’ve got hypertension!
So you are going to make food companies take the salt out
of our processed food, our lunchmeats, our soups, our cheese - gradually, so
that we won’t notice a difference.
♪♫ No taste
But you should know we’re more attentive and clever than
you realize, and we have the ability to season our own food, even if that means
putting on more salt.
♪♫ Where’s my
salt shaker? ♪♫
But because you are so smart and
know what’s best for us, you’ll continue to dictate, legislate, and regulate like
it’s going out of style, to mold us into your vision of perfection, all on the
taxpayers’ backs.So here’s to you, Mr.
Nanny State FDA Regulator.
♪♫ Mr. Nanny State
FDA Regulaaaaaaaaaaatoooooooooooor! ♪♫
Inspired by this and with all due apologies to the Anheuser-Busch corporation and Bud Light.
Thought of the day: It looks like the Obama Administration and the core Democratic leadership is going to ram rod through the unpopular Obamacare health reforms. The Republican party has often been referred to as the Party of No for its opposition to the health reforms. But given that the Democrats most likely will pass it by deeming it passed, despite fierce citizen opposition and a lack of congressional votes, I guess that makes the them the Party of "So?"
The Belmont Club has a fascinating satellite picture of Port Au Prince after the quake struck earlier this week. Below is a snapshot. Click on the picture for the full-size picture at the Belmont Club (4 MB!).
As a point of reference, copy and paste the coordinates 72°20′20.05″W, 18°32′35.23″N into Google maps (or click here) and see what the city looked like from the sky before the quake. What struck me in the after photographs was not the destruction. I expected to see that. What struck me were the countless people milling about in the streets. I was also struck by the ruins of the church just below the top and a little to the right of center in the after picture (here is the church before the quake from Google maps). You can see the shape of a cross, but the remaining shell looks like an eerie apparition to me.
Check out the Belmont Club post for a short video taken just before and during the quake.
Joe Rollino once lifted 475 pounds. He used neither his arms nor his
legs but, reportedly, his teeth. With just one finger he raised up 635
pounds; with his back he moved 3,200. He bit down on quarters to bend
them with his thumb.
People called him the Great Joe Rollino, the Mighty Joe Rollino and
even the World’s Strongest Man, and what did it matter if at least one
of those people was Mr. Rollino himself.
On Monday morning, Mr.
Rollino went for a walk in his Brooklyn neighborhood, a daily routine.
It was part of the Great Joe Rollino’s greatest feat, a display of
physical dexterity and stamina so subtle that it revealed itself only
if you happened to ask him his date of birth: March 19, 1905. He was
104 years old and counting.
A few minutes before 7 a.m., as Mr.
Rollino was crossing Bay Ridge Parkway at 13th Avenue, a 1999 Ford
Windstar minivan struck him. The police said he suffered fractures to
his pelvis, chest, ribs and face, as well as head trauma. Unconscious,
he was taken to Lutheran Medical Center, where he later died.
Charles Gasparino has an interesting column in the WSJ in which he details the bailout mania that seems to have gripped the Feds over the past 30 years. He argues that repeated past actions by the Feds since the 1980's have shown that the next time that large financial institutions find themselves in dire straights because of investments gone bad, Father Government will come to the rescue with wallets wide open. That makes managers at such institutions more likely to take on risks they otherwise would not.
Mr. Forstmann knows a thing or two about greedy investment bankers:
He's been calling them on the carpet for years, most famously during
the 1980s when he fulminated against the excesses of the junk-bond era.
He also knows that blaming banking greed alone can't by itself explain
the financial tsunami that tore the markets apart last year and left
the banking system and the economy in tatters.
The greed merchants needed a co-conspirator, Mr. Forstmann argues,
and that co-conspirator is and was the United States government.
"They're always there waiting to hand out free money," he said.
"They just throw money at the problem every time Wall Street gets in
trouble. It starts out when they have a cold and it builds until the
risk-taking leads to cancer."
Mr. Forstmann's point shouldn't be taken lightly. Not by the press,
nor by policy makers in Washington. But so far it has been, and the
easy money is flowing like never before. Interest rates are close to
zero; in effect the Federal Reserve is subsidizing the risk-taking and
bond trading that has allowed Goldman Sachs to produce billions in
profits and that infamous $16 billion bonus pool (analysts say it could
grow to as high as $20 billion). The Treasury has lent banks money,
guaranteed Wall Street's debt and declared every firm to be a
commercial bank, from Citigroup with close to $1 trillion in U.S.
deposits, to Morgan Stanley with close to zero. They are all "too big
to fail" and so free to trade as they please—on the taxpayer dime.
I've been critical of the decision by the Obama Administration pay czar, Kenneth Feingberg, to cut the pay of CEO's at some financial institutions that have gotten bailout money. There are believable anecdotes that some of the top talent have already left those institutions lest their pay get cut in the future and I'd like to think that the government would like to have the best people available running financial institutions, particularly those that have received bailouts.
The trade-off is that the threat of pay cuts by the Feds could limit some of the moral hazard that comes with the expectation of government bailouts. The Feds have already shown that over the past 25 years, a time spanning 5 administrations of various political stripes and numerous congresses, that if a financial institution is at a risk of failure, chances are good that government will help prop it up. If I'm a senior executive at a big bank, I'll rationally believe this and I will take risks I otherwise wouldn't.
But now that the government has taken steps to cut the pay of senior managers at those institutions, I will think twice about taking some big risks because I expect that I may bear some of the losses. That's the theory, at least.
The problem is that in such a repeated game with no end, will the government have the guts to cut salaries again? Will they play the pay cut game the next time around if it's not politically feasible to do so, even if it's the right thing to do economically? And what of the unintended consequences that are sure to crop up as executives adjust which, surely, they will? If nothing else, unintended consequences are often met with band-aid remedies that create more unintended consequences which beget even more band-aid remedies. And so on, and so on, and so on.
Before this sort of regulatory behavior becomes believable, investors will have to see it happen more than once. If not, then it becomes a statistical oddity in the history of financial regulation and not a credible threat.
Chicago could rake in “at least $200 million” a year — and wipe out
the entire projected deficit for 2009 — by using its vast network of
redlight and surveillance cameras to hunt down uninsured motorists,
aldermen were told today.
The system pitched to the City Council’s Transportation Committee by
Michigan-based InsureNet would work only if insurance companies were
somehow compelled to report the names and license plates of insured
motorists. That’s already happening daily in 13 states, but not here.
The data would be entered into the National Law Enforcement
Telecommunications System (NLETS), the information-sharing network that
links federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
When a camera spots an uninsured vehicle driving on Chicago
streets, a citation would automatically be generated and sent to the
This is really scary, particularly to catch people for committing what amount to victimless crimes.