Friday, December 25, 2015

A Great Face-Lift - Done by Our Son

Here is an example of a great face-lift, done by our son, Jose Soler-Baillo, a plastic surgeon.

You can reach Jose at ResultsMD, (305) 661-1996.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Rodney Dangerfield Jokes

I'm not a sexy guy. I went to a hooker. I dropped my pants. She dropped her price.

I tell you, with my doctor, I don't get no respect. I told him, "I've swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills." He told me to have a few drinks and get some rest.

I tell ya when I was a kid, all I knew was rejection. My yo-yo, it never came back!

When I was a kid I got no respect. The time I was kidnapped, and the kidnappers sent my parents a note they said, "We want five thousand dollars or you'll see your kid again."

Some dog I got too. We call him Egypt because he leaves a pyramid in every room.

With my dog I don't get no respect. He keeps barking at the front door. He don't want to go out. He wants me to leave.

What a dog I got. His favorite bone is in my arm!

Last week I saw my psychiatrist. I told him, "Doc, I keep thinking I'm a dog." He told me to get off his couch.

I worked in a pet store and people kept asking how big I'd get.

My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.

I'll tell ya, my wife and I, we don't think alike. She donates money to the homeless, and I donate money to the topless!

One night I came home. I figured, let my wife come on. I'll play it cool. Let her make the first move. She went to Florida.

I asked my old man if I could go ice-skating on the lake. He told me, "Wait til it gets warmer."

My doctor told me to watch my drinking. Now I drink in front of a mirror.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Armed Citizen

John Cochrane describes how we are going downhill - and why

Here is a link to a talk by John Cochrane, "Institutions and Experience".

John has an interesting perspective that is on target.

A snippet:

Our theme is “learning from experience.” I want to reflect on how we as a society learn from experience, with special focus on economic affairs. Most of these thoughts reflect things I learned from George, directly or indirectly, but in the interest of time I won’t bore you with the stories.

An English baron in 1342 tramples his farmers’ lands while hunting. The farmers starve. Then, insecure in their land, they don’t keep it up, they move away, and soon both baron and farmers are poor.

How does our society remember thousands of years of lessons like these? When, say, the EPA decides the puddle in your backyard is a wetland, or — I choose a tiny example just to emphasize how pervasive the issues are — when the City of Palo Alto wants to grab a trailer park, how does our society remember the hunter baron’s experience?

The answer: Experience is encoded in our institutions. We live on a thousand years of slow development of the rule of law, rights of individuals, property rights, contracts, limited government, checks and balances. By operating within this great institutional machinery, these “structures” as senator Bradley called them last night, these “guardrails” as Kim Strassel called them in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, our society remembers Baron hunter’s experience in 1342, though each individual has forgotten it.
In this regard, I fear we live in an era of great forgetting.

Foreign policy increasingly seems unhinged from simplest lessons of history as well as from the carefully built institutions of the postwar order. Eisenhower and Roosevelt did not call a press conference, announce the US putting 5000 soldiers on Omaha beach, and promise the soldiers would be out by July. They set a goal, and promised to unleash whatever resources are needed for that goal. As senator Bradley reminded us, they knew that managing the peace is just as important as winning the war.

As John Taylor reminds us in his remarks today, monetary and financial policy has veered away from its traditional base in both domestic and international institutions and institutional limitations.

In economic and domestic affairs, the administration and its regulatory agencies are more and more telling people and businesses what to do, unconstrained by conventional rule-of-law restrictions and protections.

But what will happen on a change of administration? Will a new administration retreat, say we must restore rights and rule of law? Or will a new administration — once again — admire an expanded set of tools for ramming through its agenda, punishing political enemies, demanding cooperation of people and business, and set to work institutionally grabbing power for itself?

The temptation will be strong: To direct Lois Lerner’s successor to blackball different applications; to use campaign laws to persecute a different set of officials; to have its environmental, health care, and financial regulators demand the same tribute and that a different set of doors revolve; to wipe out its predecessors executive orders and issue new ones.

Or will it say, no, we eschew these methods, we will go back to respect and rebuild institutional limits, though it will take a long time and reduce our hold on power? Once the traditional restraints are broken, it’s awfully hard to go back.

The leading candidates have already promised which way they’re going. For example, Ms. Clinton, quoted by Kim Strassel, promises to use Treasury regulation to punish companies that legally reduce taxes by moving abroad. And Mr. Trump outrages the law and constitution daily.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Pi in Music

Here is a link to a musical piece created by matching pi's digits in a twelve base number system to our twelve note base system of music.

Enjoy it.

Lost in the Fifties

Here is a link for all of you who were coming of age in the fifties.  Being an old guy, I remember all of it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Do Canadians really believe that they live in a free country? Do we in the US believe we do?

Here is an example of heavy-handed Government taking away its citizens' freedom, under the guise of helping them.

Canada is a major producer of maple syrup.  Canada's Government has created a Cartel designed to help keep maple syrup prices higher than its free market price.  That helps maple syrup producers and hurts consumers.  To ensure the Cartel's "success", all maple syrup producers are forced to comply with the Cartel's edicts and pay its fees.  Maple syrup producers that wish to sell their maple syrup at free market prices face heavy fines and jail.

This kind of economic servitude exists in plenty of other areas of Canada's economy.

Some free country.

The same goes for the United States.

A snippet:

Redheaded grandmother Angele Grenier doesn't look much like a criminal, but she is one of Canada's most wanted women.

And as such, she faces the likelihood of lengthy jail time, and fines of about 500,000 Canadian dollars ($368,000; £245,000).

Her crime? She's a self-confessed smuggler and illegal dealer, someone who sells contraband across province lines.

But what exactly is she selling that has so incensed the Canadian authorities, and seen the police search her property? Drugs? Guns?

Nope, maple syrup - the lovely, sweet stuff that you pour on your breakfast pancakes, or add to your biscuit recipes.

The problem for Mrs Grenier, and Quebec's other so-called "maple syrup rebels", is that they cannot freely sell their syrup.

Instead, since 1990 they have been legally required to hand over the bulk of what they produce to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (which in French-speaking Quebec is abbreviated to FPAQ).

Backed by the Canadian civil courts, the federation has the monopoly for selling Quebecois maple syrup on the wholesale market, and for exporting it outside the province. It sets the price for how much it pays producers, and it charges them a 12% fee per pound of syrup.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

What ISIS Really Wants

Here is a nice article in The Atlantic giving some perspective about ISIS.

Watch Out.

The arrogance and conceit of the "elite"

I receive the "Columbia Today" magazine, because I graduated from Columbia College.

The Winter 2015 issue contains a short article by Jennifer S. Hirsch, professor of public health at Columbia's mailman School, condensed from an October 8 op-ed published in USA Today.  It reads as follows.

At the rural New York library that I frequent during summer months, my librarian was chatting with a patron as she checked out a volume on guns.  Casually, the patron asked how many guns she owned.  My librarian replied with a smile, saying she had eight, one for each room in the house.

I was stunned, to put it mildly.  Never would I have imagined that this lovely woman with whom I linger to \chat about books would be a gun enthusiast.  But after my initial astonishment, her words made me think: Could there be more common ground than I've assumed between "us" and "them"?

Where deeply held beliefs are concerned, all of us think we have good reason to hold the ones that we do.

Those of us who demand change must seek out and embrace opportunities to talk with individual gun owners.  Thousands of those conversations across the country will help build the political support needed to accomplish what our lawmakers have so consistently failed to do.  It's time to talk with my librarian about more than recommended reading.

Professor Hirsch's is "stunned" because she views gun owners, like her librarian, as aberrant.  Her view that the gun issue is a matter of "deeply held beliefs" ignores the abundant statistical evidence that guns in the hands of law abiding citizens saves lives.  She has no idea that gun owners have facts to back them up and that she has none (except for the myths perpetuated by anti-gunners).  Nor does she appear to understand self-defense strategy and tactics (either wearing a gun or having one readily available is necessary for an effective defense against home invasion).

Professor Hirsch comes across, to me (a retired professor), as arrogant and conceited.  My experience with academia is that such arrogance and conceit are common.

The academic elite is all too ready to tell me how to live, and to punish me if I do not live as they decree.

All this is one of the reasons why I have never contributed money to Columbia College, and never will.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

How Not To Prevent The Next Financial Meltdown

An article by Allan H. Meltzer

The large market declines and increased volatility of the past few months have prompted concerns that we may be headed toward financial chaos again. The 2010 Dodd-Frank law was the supposed solution to prevent that from happening, but as Milton Friedman cautioned, “the government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem and very often makes the problem worse.”

Case in point: Dodd-Frank’s Financial Stability Oversight Council has subjected several U.S. banks and nonbank financial institutions to special regulatory scrutiny based on the idea that their failure could lead to another crisis. But the theory behind so-called systemically important financial institutions, or SIFIs, is fundamentally flawed. Financial crises are pathologies of an entire system, not of a few key firms. Reducing the likelihood of another panic requires treating the system as a whole, which will provide greater safety than having the government micromanage a number of private companies.

The risks to a system are most pronounced when financial institutions borrow heavily to finance investments. If the value of the assets falls or becomes highly uncertain, creditors—who include depositors—will rush to pull out their money. The institution fails when it is unable to find a new source of funds to meet these obligations.

The collapse of Bear Stearns and the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy are prime examples. Before the 2008 crisis, some firms had leverage ratios of 25:1 or higher, meaning that for every $26 of investment, the firm needed to borrow $25. This required banks to obtain large amounts daily to pay off previous creditors. But when the value of their investments fell—which in the last crisis included a large share of mortgage and other asset-backed securities—the banks could not borrow and had to raise money quickly by selling their assets, sometimes at fire-sale prices. This turned seemingly solvent firms into insolvent ones.

A bank’s inability to pay off its creditors can be transmitted to others. The mechanism can be direct: The debtor bank defaults, and its creditors cannot repay their creditors, etc. But the mechanism can be indirect. The suspicion that similar assets held by other institutions are subject to the same downward pressure can start a run at even an unrelated financial institution.

However, this domino effect has less to do with the so-called interconnectedness of the financial institutions than with weaknesses in the system itself. To understand why, consider the contrast between the 2008 financial crisis and the dot-com crash in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The bursting of the dot-com bubble and subsequent failure of many Internet-based companies had serious repercussions for investors, but not for the financial sector. That’s because the failed firms were financed primarily through equity, not borrowed money. Investors took big losses when the value of tech companies fell precipitously. But there were no runs.

Mutual funds are similar. Many are large and hold assets that may be risky, but they don’t fail when the value of their assets falls. The liabilities move one-for-one with the value of the assets because the fund does not promise to pay off any fixed amount to its investors. There is no reason for a run: Getting money out first serves no purpose to investors nor does withdrawal of funds cause significant distress. The fund simply sells the assets at the market price and returns that amount to investors.

These factors suggest that instead of trying to divine which firms are systemically important, banks should be required to get a larger share of the funds they invest by selling stock. Bank investment funded by equity avoids the danger of a run: If the value of a bank’s assets falls, so too does the value of its liabilities. There is no advantage in getting to the bank before others do.

Using higher equity requirements to reduce systemic risk has been suggested on these pages by Allan Meltzer, and in “The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do About It,” a recent book by Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig that has received much attention.

This reasoning also implies that deposits—the checking and saving accounts that are bank liabilities—should be invested only in short-maturity secure assets, like Treasury bills. A bank’s long-term investments, in mortgages or stocks, can then experience big losses or even fail. Bad for the bank and its investors, but not for the financial system or for depositors, whose deposits are backed by virtually risk-free assets.

The Federal Reserve seems to be wising up, and may require higher equity capital for the SIFIs and place less emphasis on regulation. Fed Chair Janet Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee on July 16 that she is open to raising the threshold on the asset level warranting SIFI status and scrutiny. Additionally, the international Financial Stability Board announced on July 31 that it would set aside work on designating funds or asset managers as systemically important to focus instead on whether their activities or products were systemically important.

Dodd-Frank’s method of protecting the financial system is based on a misdiagnosis of what led to the 2008 financial crisis. A more rules-based approach that focuses primarily on equity and leverage would provide better certainty and a higher cost-benefit ratio than designating firms as SIFIs.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Comparing death rates from mass public shootings and mass public violence in the US and Europe

Here is an article by John Lott that shows how misleading are Obama and the media about where the United States stands on mass public shootings and mass public violence.  It is nowhere near as bad as they say.

The purveyors of these lies know better.  You should, too - so hear is something from Lott that is more accurate.

A snippet.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

One liner jewish jokes from the Masters

I just got from a pleasure trip.  I took my mother-in-law to the airport.

I've been in love with the same woman for 49 years.  If my wife finds out, she'll kill me.

We always hold hands.  If I let go, she shops.

My wife was at the beauty shop for two hours.  That was only for the estimate.  She got a mud pack and looked great for two days.  Then the mud fell off.

Patient:  "I have ringing in my ears."
Doctor:  "Don't answer."

There is a big controversy on the Jewish view of when life begins.  In Jewish tradition, the fetus is not considered viable until it graduates from law school.

Have you seen the newest Jewish-American-Princess horror movie?  It is called "Debbie Does Dishes."