Monday, April 13, 2015

Are Free Range Kids bad?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/free-range-kids-and-our-parenting-police-state/2015/04/13/42c30336-e1df-11e4-905f-cc896d379a32_story.html

"The Silver Spring siblings were about 2 1/2 blocks from their home Sunday when Montgomery County police got a call reporting them — gasp — playing alone.
'The police coerced our children into the back of a patrol car and kept them trapped there for three hours, without notifying us, before bringing them to the Crisis Center, and holding them there without dinner for another two and a half hours,' their mom, Danielle Meitiv, said to her Facebook friends. 'We finally got home at 11 pm and the kids slept in our room because we were all exhausted and terrified'.”

Could the police be sued for kidnapping?  As I recall my childhood, the main rule was to be home at a certain time.  We ranged far and wide, but kept to that one rule.

Friday, April 10, 2015

High-frequency trading is ruining the stock market

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32246655

"Mr Lewis says the major question is how to structure markets for stocks and shares as well as bonds and currencies as computers slowly and inexorably take over from human traders.
Martin Wheatley, the head of the markets watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority, has said that high-frequency trading now accounts for 30% of business on the UK equity market. In America it is higher.
Mr Lewis says that it is unclear - certainly in the US at least - whether the regulators are going to do anything about what he says is such a major problem.
One reason, he argues, is the "revolving door" between the Wall Street banks and firms engaged in high-frequency trading and the regulators themselves. A 'cosy club' has grown up, he says.
But, although that may be the case, Mr Lewis actually argues that the story of Flash Boys is one of hope.
And that's because the main witness in his book, Brad Katsuyama, a trader at the Royal Bank of Canada, has set up an exchange called IEX which seeks to eliminate 'predatory opportunities created by speed'."

I have mostly left the stock market because of stuff like this.

Friday, March 27, 2015

It does matter who you vote for; Republicans try to mess up the US

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/27/us-usa-budget-idUSKBN0MN0LR20150327

"(Reuters) - The Senate passed a Republican-authored budget plan early on Friday that seeks $5.1 trillion in domestic spending cuts over 10 years while boosting military funding.
The 52-46 vote on the non-binding budget resolution put Congress on a path to complete its first full budget in six years. It came at the end of a marathon 18-hour session that saw approval of dozens of amendments ranging from Iran sanctions to carbon emissions and immigration policies.
Two Republican senators who are running or considering running for president, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, voted against their party's budget plan, which is similar to one passed by House Republicans on Wednesday.
In addition to aiming to eliminate deficits within 10 years, both documents seek to ease the path for a repeal or replacement of President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law."




Who are we so afraid of that we have to INCREASE defense spending?  And why would we pay for that by depriving people of affordable health care?  Who actually thinks this way? And why would anyone vote for someone who thinks this way?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A minimum income was tried in Canada, and it worked

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-mincome-experiment-dauphin

"Critics of basic income guarantees have insisted that giving the poor money would disincentivize them to work, and point to studies that show ​a drop in peoples' willingness to work under pilot programs. But in Dauphin—thought to be the largest such experiment conducted in North America—the experimenters found that the primary breadwinner in the families who received stipends were in fact not less motivated to work than before. Though there was some reduction in work effort from mothers of young children and teenagers still in high school—mothers wanted to stay at home longer with their newborns and teenagers weren’t under as much pressure to support their families—the reduction was not anywhere close to disastrous, as skeptics had predicted. "

Well there you go. Now we need to try this in the United States.  How about Rapid City, SD?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015

So I guess this person won't be living in a tiny house

http://www.straight.com/news/817631/tiny-homes-are-merely-trendy-fantasy-not-affordable-housing-solution

"I don't want to be defeatist here, because I do admire people who refuse to accept that the world is given to us as is—and instead choose to live as if the maxim of their actions should become a universal truth. It's what remains so attractive about Thoreau's Walden experiment. But we can't laud tiny houses for their innovation without beginning by saying that the economic realities that necessitate it are a huge fucking problem that won't go away with vintage marine lightbulb cages or marble countertops. And we can't treat tiny houses squatting on hobby farms as the latest trend for the well-heeled lumbersexual set.
Stories like these spread the falsehood that consumers have a say in how their neighbourhoods, communities and cities are planned—while the evidence repeatedly shows that our urban agendas are set by developers. Laneway houses, microlofts, tiny housesthese are individuated solutions to social problems that require social fixes. Why can't we see the ingenuity and innovation so evident on this "tiny" scale at macro levels? Because building a wee home on a trailer and towing it out to Sooke just isn't an option for a struggling daycare professional or recently laid-off Target worker—and they shouldn't be promised that it is."

The main argument here is that tiny houses are not for everybody. True. I don't think any tiny house promoter is arguing that everybody should live in one. It's just an alternative. And it demonstrates that we don't really need 2000 square feet of space to feel comfortable.

Croatia helps their 1% - the BOTTOM 1%

http://rt.com/business/228311-croatia-erases-debt-poorest/

"Croatian government have gotten creditors on board a plan to erase the debts of some 60,000 poorest citizens. The “fresh start” scheme targets less than 1 percent of the entire debt, but is hoped to boost the economy in the long-term.
The unorthodox measure was voted for by the government on January 15 and comes into force on Monday. To be eligible to participate debtors must have no savings or property, have a debt no greater than about $5,100 and live on welfare or an income of no higher than $138 per month.
'We assess that this measure will be applicable to some 60,000 citizens,' Deputy Prime Minister Milanka Opacic said as he was introducing the bailout. 'Thus they will be given a chance for a new start without a burden of debt.'"

I look forward to seeing how this helps or hurts the economy overall.