Saturday assorted links

1. Cat ladders the culture that is Swiss (good photos, recommended).

2. Quecca, ronna, and yotta: new prefixes are needed!  Micro and nano ain’t enough.

3. How the conservative revolution stalled in the states (powerpoints, also recommended, strongly, for anyone working on social change).  Matt Grossman and his work should be much, much better known.

4. What does touch mean in China?

5. Taxes come in many forms.

6. “Vodka firm loses valuable iceberg water in apparent heist.

7. Forget the Academy Awards, here is the 2019 European Tree of the Year contest.


Cats are smart. We tossed ours in a rice field to get rid of them begging around our house, and one of the five we tossed found its way back to the house, over 2 km away. We had them in rice bags en route, so I have no idea how they found their way back, maybe by smell? We decided to keep the one that came back. They were so scared they peed in the rice sack but cat pee does not smell bad if in copious quantities. I think they're fine, they'll find mice to eat (the were all semi-feral).

I like how you just casually mention how you left five animals in the elements so they'd die and stop bothering you. The banality of evil, eh?

There it is.

Oh c'mon, they'll be fine. Lots of mice in those fields I'm sure. Or frogs, birds, fish. Actually what's amazing about the Philippines is the absence of wildlife, it's almost like anything that moves is eaten. 100M people in a land area the size of Arizona, and most of them in and around Manila. Still, I'm sure those cats will survive somehow...the alternative is exposure while they are kittens and have zero chance.

I'm more interested in the method he thought the cats would be using to find their way back home if they hadn't been in bags. Memorizing the route as they went along?

#4 "People abandoned their cars in the middle of the road. They were euphoric. They’d been accepted by the world."

Berlin, 1936

5. I want to be sympathetic. I married into a Jewish family. They do the same thing - help each other out. The one uncle paid the med school bills of his sisters kid, etc. One time my MIL wanted some shoes but thought they were too expensive. "I can get them for you," I said cheerily, "I have a little extra money in my pocket." "No...its all the same," she said.

The trouble is if you have like 50 relatives, like I do in the Philippines. You have to be somewhat selective, or super-rich like I am. Then you find relatives who stiff you the same as a stranger would.

The thing is though, I'd expect, the extra well off guy in the Jewish family, he's an outlier relative to his family, but his family are probably mostly in the professional class and probably well above the general population. (The accumulated results of most probably a genetic intelligence edge, a more urban residence pattern than typical, and a long term culture of involvement in business and the professions).

So maybe he's less able to accumulate wealth up to the level that he would otherwise be at. But he's not so much going to regress to less than the norm for his professional class because of it...

Pretty close.

If you've got too many moocher family members bugging you for cash, my advice is the same as Big Al's for WV residents: leave. And don't be real punctual about returning phone calls.

Or put the most persistent of them in a bag and carry them to a field 2 km away.

Shocking that Ray's family banished him to a shithole country.

I would say three reasons:

1) For long conservative change they need social conservatism that requires local control of the community, church and business. Businesses are no longer local and fewer people are going to church.
2) The red state model is focused on lower wages which works better in recessionary times (2008 - 2012) versus booms.
3) Some of the conservative state governments is simply a reaction to Obama and we see movements towards Ds with Trump.

I wish for the Presidential debates and Democratic debates would ask a single question and the candidates are given one week to develop a five minute presentation discussion. The question would be "How improve the lives of West Virginia considering the demand for coal continues to decline?" (I wish they do that on other issues like Venezuela and relations with China or other nations in the Middle East.)

Here is my, only somewhat facetious, 3 second plan for your WV debate question:


West Virginia has been bleeding population since 1950. So let’s not blame coal.

To think a national debate should focus on West Virginia is nuts. Let WV deal with WV.

I would only accept a presentation if there was a live voting of public choice economists giving a reality check to their bullshit.

Are you arguing that West Virginia's land is harmful to humans, and no political-economic theory can fight nature, and the land's negative impact on human society?

Or are your arguing that a homogenous white American race is inherently doomed to failure?

Maybe I'm being unfair and you criticize all those outside California criticizing California political economics which is clearly driven by California voters. Let California be California and produce products and serrvices that change the global economy?

After all, Trump is advocating for West Virgina to force coal consumption on the nation. Not forest product production. Not recreation services.

You need cities with an industry cluster in highly paid work, good farm land, or ungodly amounts of oil owned by the state to get a high standard of living. WV has none of those things, and there is f*ck all that can be done about it.

California isn’t a shining success of liberal policy either; once you take into account the cost of housing it is in the top five states in the nation for its rate of poverty. I honestly cannot point to a single state and say that it is unequivocal proof that liberal or conservative governance is better, as most all states have had periods of rule by both parties in the recent past. If you know of a state that has really low povert levels and a strongly growing population and economy and where those things are clearly the result of government policies, I would love to know about it. Texas seems to come closest to that, and perhaps Iowa and Minnesota as well, though I am not sure that it isn’t just culture driving the results in the upper Midwest. If California or Massachusetts had affordable housing I would put them on the list, but that is like saying that a meal out at a restaurant was an excellent experience except that the food tasted disgusting.

Switzerland and Norway both have high costs of living including housing but I wouldn't say either are particularly badly governed, even though one is known for low taxes and the other for high taxes.

Neither one has been threatened or contributed to meaningful defense of self or others. They've essentially free ridden off of NATO and the US in particular.

Norway is flush with oil revenues. Their sovereign wealth fund pays for a lot.

Is housing there really expensive relative to wages? California’s problem is that it’s housing isn’t affordable.

#5. Heard those stories before, see also white trash lottery winners. A Vietnamese friend of the family with a white collar job recounted her trip to visit her parents ' homeland: her relatives would drag her to overpriced ritzy restaurants and spas, and make her pay. This one trip ended up consuming more than a year of savings. If her relatives were rational, they would have been looking for an angel investor rather than blowing someone else's money to gain a few long term useless status points. Despite Cristopher Balding's romance with the young and dynamic Vietnam, this dysfunctional behavior, I have never seen in China, there it is more common that locals of limited means insist on paying the bills, to the embarrassment of much better paid visitors.

#6. Thirty thousand liters stolen, use an illustration that probably shows billions of liters, at least if the below surface volume is included. I am assuming 100 meters each side cube above the water.

3. "Few Evidence-Based Policies are Conservative"

That's kind of a common charge these days, that Democrats have become responsible for pragmatism as Republicans have embraced ideology, but I think it is working stepping back.

Did a conservative revolution really have to end with fake emergencies and bad policy?

Another far leftist heard from. We’ve had a faux revolution that ended with fake emergencies and bad policy. It’s called 2018.

We have the Green New Deal. And now Senators will vote.

Conservatives should take responsibility for the path and destination their movement found.

Anonymous is more of a "radical centre" guy than a leftist. Usually claims to be a moderate, but they're much more committed to well, moderation, which means restrained and cautious policy on all fronts, and norms of kindness and civility towards political opponents. He's an extremist on whatever it is that ostensibly apolitical businessmen, technocrats and NIMBY property owners want, and harsh and insulting towards anyone who doesn't give it to him.

That's not so far off. I could do 5 minutes on opposing rational arguments .. for a lot of topics. But what good is that now, when we suffer an irrational extreme in governance?

I am certainly not the kind of "centrist" who triangulates, and claims no matter what, both sides must be half right. At certain times in history one side or the other goes far wrong.

Donald Trump is managing a fake emergency from the omelette bar at Mar-A-Lago. Not only is that not the liberals fault, it has more to do with the paranoia conservatives have developed for liberalism, starting .. with Newt Gingrich and total war on Bill Clinton?

Own it.

Are you a climate science skeptic?

Faith-based policy making is basically "we have nothing to back it up but we're sticking to it." This works less well in a connected world where information is everywhere.

"Evidence-based policy" is an oxymoron. The first assumes that studies which are carried out in the controlled environment of universities and research institutes, ie social science, can be transplanted into the second, policy, ie the dynamic political and social world where there are no controls and variables are infinite. The term is simply a dog whistle, used to denigrate other policies as seemingly irrational because they are not "evidence-based." In the end, all policy is going to be based off of some paradigmatic a priori assumptions, often unstated, and evidence is very often built around, and even deemed "evidence" to the extent that it conforms to, these assumptions. So the term is mere propaganda.


Evidenced based policy? It’s impossible that someone conceiving of public policy as a function of evidence, would ever admit to evidence counter to their policy ambitions. Its an impossible starting point for any cogent debate....

There are certainly many policies that have been tried in many times and many places. Evidence-based analysis compares across times and places. That doesn't strike me as a big deal really, and I don't comprehend any reluctance to the effort.

If someone finds an example supporting their policy sure, you can remind them of countervailing evidence.

Trump's Wall is a pretty good example of an anti-evidence based policy.

is medicine policy-based? probably the easiest way to look at it is a kid who's been kicked around, depressed, and at-risk of developing schizophrenia. I don't know sometimes a black squirrel looks like a panther, but not quite. Understanding voices are a musical response to trauma, that desire for happiness is universal, and that development, and happiness, have diminishing returns, special relativity as Anonymous says makes most psychiatry a "judgement" call.

I beg to differ. Walls work. They are a proven impediment to people who are generally on foot. Deserts and bodies of water used to be barriers but they are now mere impediments. The illegals / undocumented and those who are paid to assist them are resourceful...

I write as someone who is not anti-immigration, but who believe we should periodically slow the flow; and moreover as a nation governed by laws, we should discourage lawbreaking (illegal entry and fraudulent Asylum seeking).

There is no evidence that America needs to slow immigration or that there is any emergency on the southern border, besides the civil rights crisis caused by ICE and BP.

#5. If you can say no - if no one's threatening to kill you if you don't pay up - then its not a tax.

#5 - Giving money to relatives is not a tax: basically government forcibly confiscation. It's charity, which begins in the home.

Anybody that ever received an IRS collection letter knows what is a tax.

I was hoping the post would provide something meaningful, like government, centrally-planned inflation would be a tax. Fat chance.

Calling this a tax, is a way to avoid calling black culture is defective.

The perspective in the article is very Westernised and needs a broader approach. This sort of 'problem' is a part of cultures throughout the world, where the family is the most important institution and overrides the needs of the individual family member.

It's not 'defective'; the 'circle of obligation' in many cultures starts with the family. It's often at odds with the structure of the nuclear, Western family, and Western societies more broadly, where government services have taken over the role of family members ...

3. Except for the ideologues and the 1%, there is no constituency for conservative economic policies (tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts to social welfare programs for everybody else). "Basically nobody wants these policies on their own; they only sell if they’re packaged with racial hostility." Duh. "These are, it turns out, related stories, all of them tied to the two great absences in American political life. One is the absence of socially liberal, economically conservative voters. . . . . The other is the absence of economically liberal, socially conservative politicians — let’s be blunt and just say “racist populists.” Conservatives have ridden the wave of economically conservative policies but only by socially conservative appeals to racism. How long will that work with an America with increasing inequality and an increasing percentage of black and brown people. Not even a judiciary packed with friendly judges can hold back the tide forever. Of course, there is an alternative. What's that? An economic policy that favors the middle class over the wealthy. Not a chance.

That’s easy to answer. Economically conservative countries routinely outperform their left wing counterparts...

Sorry but low taxes, low regulation is always a winner-US, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Chile-the only moderately conservative economically speaking country in Latin America.

And a lot of left wing countries are garbage-Argentina-garbage can, Mexico garbage can, Venezuela-dumpster fire, Brazil ehhhh who really cares.

And then big European countries....

Spain total joke

France garbage can

Italy garbage

UK somewhere between MEH and garbage can

Germany-not all that left or right wing and is a solid performer.

Nordic countries-successful but also far less regulated and taxed than even the US in many cases....

Oh and then the Marxist places

Russia dumpster fire

North Korea total shite hole

Laos shite hole

China only successful because they took on right wing liberalization

Sorry but the last tax and spend Democrat in the White House was jimmy carter and he was a big old dumpster fire of high inflation and recession.

No doubt the Republican Party is filled with fame conservatives but fiscal austerity and low regulation are still the road to prosperity....

You want 350 million Americans and counting? You better liberalize...

"That’s easy to answer. Economically conservative countries routinely outperform their left wing counterparts...

Sorry but low taxes, low regulation is always a winner-US, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Chile-the only moderately conservative economically speaking country in Latin America."

The EU is defined by multiple flat taxes on wage income, plus a low corporate tax rate with zero tax deductions, know as VAT, in the 20-25% range. And EU policy mandates health care insurance be required by all member states.

Conservatives in the rest of the developed world take for granted things described as socialism in the US as clear roles for government, funded by taxes.


Switzerland provided the model for Romneycare, Obamacare, the mandate everyone have health insurance. They adopted this because the public hospitals providing free/means priced care plus employer, et al, provided insurance were failing to deliver health care to everyone while costs were rising too much, especially to taxpayers.

Tax revenues in Switzerland are 27.8% of gdp compared to the US 26%, which does not count the mandated health insurance premiums you must pay out of income, if able. And while Swuss health care costs are very high as share of gdp, they are significantly lower than the US, but these high costs have led to increasing regulation of health care pricing.

Hong Kong is hardly low regulation. Certainly never democratic but always under colonial control. It would better be understood as a government supported enterprise, operated to profit the colonial power.

Tax revenue in Luxembourg is 36% of gdp.

And the US and Switzerland hit their populaces with demonstrably less tax burdens than countries like the UK, France, Nordic states, Spain, And Italy....

Also what causality are you implying by mandating health insurance? What’s the arguement? That the fiscal liability is good for the economy? What evidence do you have to prove that?

Marxist Russia and China.

lol. 1982 called; they want their world political map back.

You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think China and Russia aren’t still suffering from Marxism in a political sort of way.

Marxism: inefficient state owned or supported industries that don’t answer to the market. Or any market. And which, moreover, are managed by cadres of militants who can’t be allowed to innovate. So yeah these things still plague China and Russia, the latter more than the former, however.

@ Terry Richards --- "Low tax, Low regulation is always the winner"
The United States hasn't delivered real wage growth to 60% of US workers in 30 years, and can't deliver affordable healthcare (or in some cases clean water) to its citizens.
In Hong Kong the median salary is around 28-30k USD a year and the median rent is over 65% of that, doesn't sound great for your standard of living.
Switzerland is a winner but also has a long history of providing banking services to ultra-rich people which is rather lucrative, and as previous commenter said avoiding military expenses.
Luxembourg is hardly low tax.
Germany, a country so not left wing that Unions are incredibly powerful and have representatives on company boards, and tax to gdp is 38%
Most of the big non-Mediterranean European countries at PPP have GDP per hour worked within 10% of the U.S, which with much more equal distributions of income and wealth makes it very hard to claim its a garbage can.
Spain, Italy, Greece all have their problems but to assign it to high taxes, when they have similar levels of tax that the nothern europeans do is problematic.

Racism, always falling on the republicans, but landing on the democrats.

#3 is a bit weird because it points to increasing expenditure and size of government as a liberal policy result, but there's seems no normalisation for increase in the size of the private economy?

is the idea here that, if the economy increases in size and the government can take in more through tax without changing rates and safely take out more debt without increasing the relative size of the state, it's a "liberal victory" should they actually do so?

On 2, the simple solution is to use actual values of n, like in n-gon for an n-sided polygon. We may not like 10e12-illion aesthetically, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

#5...What's next? The hidden tax of having children. A tax is used to fund the government from which the taxpayers receive benefits. The tax discussion in this country is already obscured enough without calling any spending you don't like or approve of a tax. Plus, if you think of needy relatives as schnorrers that's not a tax issue, but a family issue. Finally, a lot of people have a problem saving money but blaming charity is a bit rich.

3. As i try to download and open the document, I flash back 25 years when someone, maybe the head of Sun, talking about presenting "hello world" to an audience...
In text, about 10 bytes
In html, about 50 bytes
In word, about 1000 bytes
In pdf, about 2000 bytes
In powerpoint, about 100,000 bytes

He didn't mention it,

"hello world" in powerpoint in pdf at probably 250,000 bytes

Economists argue free markets result in the best solution rising to the top.

Open Office is freeware which is currently based on "html" and includes a power point equivalent, yet the bloated, inefficient, and costly powerpoint product still hangs on.

Which is an ironic parallel to the conservative movement.

#3...Any movement leading to President Trump left any meaningful notion of Conservative long ago. I remember when Republicans called President Clinton unfit for office for his boorish behavior. Now it's a minor foible for being President.

Clinton was actually a rapist, so I don't think 'minor foible' is accurate.

If you are going to accuse someone of rape, then you should, at the very least, say who you are and take responsibility for the accusation. I know he has been accused of it, but don't know if it's true or not. If it is true, then he should be punished. I used boorish behavior precisely because I didn't want to accuse anyone of something I didn't feel was true given what I've read. I feel it's fair to say that both men have shown boorish and unacceptable behavior towards women.

So neither should have been president, and both should have been investigated for sexual crimes?


Not rape at all. Women wanted to have a fling with Clinton. Trump, on the other hand, had to pay for some action.

Apparently Clinton made it okay to put rapists on the Supreme Court

Clinton is a proven criminal (albeit not proven to the satisfaction of fawning Democrat senators). He was disbarred for illegal actions. That's not merely "boorish." And it has become clear that he stays out of prison only because Deep State apparatchiks won't investigate and try him and his criminal wife.

Trump has been often accused and never proven guilty of anything.

You're joking, right. He's paid fines for crimes numerous times. I couldn't care less about Clinton, but the hypocrisy stands. I'm not a poodle for anyone, but you clearly are.

Fines for what? When? Where? How much? If I'm unaware of them, I apologize for an absolute statement.

Are these crimes or infractions? Misdemeanors or felonies? Was jail time possible?

The Clintons are guilty of multiple felonies.

The Clintons haven't been convicted of anything. How can you say they are guilty of multiple things but Trump is innocent? Trump hasn't served time so he's innocent. Clintons haven't served time so they are guilty.

Oh wait, I know how you vomit up such nonsense. Doesn't make it any less idiotic. Trump loves you way less than you do him.

We was disbarred

Oops. He was disbarred.

Is the black tax thing not just a class thing?

#3 The explanation for this is that both the Reps and Dems have been slowly veering leftward. Reps reaction to the tea party and lower taxes, attack it. Same with Trump's deregulation. Trump's slightly to the left of Bill Clinton and treated as some ultra right president.

Pat Cadell passed away. "He had only seemingly moved rightward from the time of his service to Jimmy Carter as his pollster and adviser, to his embrace of Trump. But Pat had not moved; rather the world had moved around him. Pat remained devoted to the Constitution, to moral goodness, and to the absolute necessity of doing what was right, even at great personal cost. He was the last honorable Democrat, and he knew it."

The cat ladders are a revelation!

To raccoons too, should they have them there.

#3: The fundamental question he's asking is: If America is more conservative and state legislatures are more Republican, why did policy continue shifting in a liberal direction?

Sing it with me, boys and girls: D-E-E-P-S-T-A-T-E.

The deep state is liberal?

Are you joking?

Of course it's liberal. The Deep State is just the collection of people whose inputs shape US policy, but aren't elected officials or their staff. Their influence is usually life-long and they do not change with political administrations. They include:

- Journalists (or, as we should say these days, "journalists") and other media professionals (including executives)

- Professors (especially in the soft "sciences" and grievance studies) who lend their "expertise" to government policy shops

- Lobbyists / think-tankers

- Government employees not directly attached to an elected official

By my count, 1 & 2 are skewed extremely liberal, especially 2. 3 is about half and half. And 4 is probably mostly liberal (especially within the education system, which has by far the most influence of that group), but not as much as 1 & 2.

The net result is that the Deep State is heavily skewed liberal.

3. Something that's always puzzled me is how the world woke up one morning, to find that the color red, which had from the beginning of time, been associated with leftism, socialism, and communism, had suddenly been transformed into the color of conservatism and the Republican party.

And blue (as my gold-buttoned blazer will testify), which has always been associated with stodgy, country-club reactionaries, became the color of liberalism and the Democratic party.

Can someone explain to me how and when this happened? I don't recall any kind of memo going out. Whenever I see one of these maps with the red states on it, I have to make a strong conscious effort to recall that red means Republican, not Stalin, Mao, etc.

A cynical answer would be, "In 2000 all the TV networks used those colors in their maps of the presidential election. People on the left liked that states won by a Democrat weren't red, with all the old connotations that had. So without really thinking about it, they started referring to states that went Democrat as blue and states that went Republican as red. Since most people in journalism are on the left, this quickly became common usage." From Wikipedia, "According to The Washington Post, the terms [red state and blue state] were coined by journalist Tim Russert during his televised coverage of the 2000 presidential election." (from the article "Red states and blue states")

How is that cynical? That's a pretty simple summary of how it actually happened.

The article is well worth a read.

#6. Drink vodka to stop the rising of global sea levels. Everyone do your part!

3. He lost all credibility by using the leftist mantra "evidence based."

What that actually means is "propaganda based."

yeah I agree. Evidence and science and stuff like that.

Strictly liberal.

5. The scourge of redistribution hits successful black men. They deserve it for their mindless adherence to a political monolith. But they are learning.

That's optimistic!

#5: Good to be aware of that perspective. My Ethiopian coworker talks about how everyone's dream there is to make enough to take care of their mother. I barely feel that. White privilege is having enough of your ancestors that managed to take care of their parents that they got ahead of the game. Now your mother can actually take care of you while you work on getting your life going. That means more time for each white person's investments to compound because they don't start by paying off debt to their extended family first.

#5 Gotta hand it to leftists and their inexhaustible inventiveness in completely redefining terms to make it look like they're getting the short end of the stick.

1: I thought that responsible cat ownership these days calls for keeping cats indoors and not letting them wander around outdoors. Partly for the protection of the cat, but mainly for the protection of birds and other wildlife.

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