Monday assorted links


#6 Please don't

#6, The early-00 mass customization trend was great for odd size/shaped people. I wish that it had succeed (the current 'internet made-to-measure' companies are are different; they are targeting the bespoke market and price point)

3. Those who borrowed more were more likely to get their degree, which reduced the likelihood of default. I'm not sure how student loans are structure, but I suspect with little foresight (i.e., with a financing plan to get the borrower all the way through college). I know a developer who borrowed just enough to construct the foundation for a condominium project, without any plan for additional funding in order to complete the project. I thought the man bonkers. A student who borrows enough to get through the current semester without a funding plan for the rest of college is just as bonkers. Shouldn't a student loan be contingent on such a plan?

Another way that this could work is someone borrowing money for something that doesn't pay well enough. A couple years ago it would cost $40k for someone to get their nurse's certificate. They get paid well if they can get the hours, and if the person is free to work those hours. But if you have a family, trying for a second income, that might not compute.

> "Boochani’s fellow prisoners come from all over the world: Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Lebanon, Iran, Somalia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Iraq, Kurdistan. Having to live in close proximity with strangers becomes a torment."

So xenophobes are seeking to immigrate to xenophobic Australia...

Maybe he's Shia and most of the strangers are Sunni, who look down on him.

It would be less shameful if Australia placed him in a Holiday Inn Express. [Disclosure: I do not own the stock.]

So, that's the reason Boochani is not building his new life in Indonesia. Seems as if he'd rather live among the hated-filled Aussies. Go figure.

Economic migrants . . .

It certainly sounds like they must have passed through plenty of other countries on their way.

Indeed, which means that they are not "asylum seekers" they are just people shopping around.

My cousin used an internet site to compare phone plans. He got two years for it. It's quite normal to lock people up for shopping around here.

6. When mass customization was first floated in technology circles the example given was automobiles. I was really enthused for a day, imagining that I could customize a base model car with the big engine and a stick shift. But history turned out pretty differently. Certainly you can go to a website and "build my car," but mostly what you do is select trim levels and packages. (I think there are actually fewer colors on offer each year than in the old days.) There are two reasons for this obviously. First locking things you want into trim levels is a good way to upsell customers in general. But also neither the manufacturer nor the customer really want to wait for a fully custom card come down the robot manufacturing line and be delivered.

So I would have low expectations going forward.

On the other hand things that have always been custom, like kitchens and swimming pools, will benefit from computer aided design computer and visualization.

I was in the market for a new car earlier this year. After seeing many lackluster models and a few decent ones overfilled with expensive bells and whistles on top of what I actually wanted, I left the market without purchase. Maybe next year I'll buy. Not really sure.

I would welcome waiting for a fully custom car to come down the manufacturing line.

Power and transmission from Tesla. Body by Fisher. Cabin furnishing by Lexus?

I've sat in a Lexus at a dealer a couple of times. The headroom was inadequate.

Come to think of it, maybe Lexus is trying to emulate German cars (e.g. Beamers, Mercs) in having inadequate headroom. Is it only short-arses who buy such cars?

I saw a BMW M4 yesterday that fits the big engine (431 HP) and stick shift profile. Indeed, I read mass customization and immediately thought about BMW.

#3. People who make it to the senior year borrow more by definition. People who drop out after their freshman or sophomore year borrow less, but are more likely to default, because they didn't get their degree.

That and the stats aren't going to be linear because students don't drop out in a linear fashion. A medical student within a couple of years of graduation is unlikely to drop out. A second year undecided is likely to drop out. However, that student may struggle to pay back $20K in loans, whereas the medical student will easily manage $250K in debt.

Also, with income based repayment, the amount you borrowed doesn't really matter anymore.

7. The problem with mass customization is distribution. If they sell online, maybe, but with clothes?

Clothes were often custom or customized when I was born seven decades ago. Tailors and seamstresses were easy to find, plus many people customized or did custom clothing at home to save money. Custom shoes were available to most at prices not much higher than quality footwear, which was commonly repaired by the same shops.

But that's when clothing and footwear were assets, durable goods with long lives in productive service.

Note, I still have clothes I wear bought 50 years ago. Still have at least one college PE cotton T in my laundry cycle that's probably been washed 100+ times. An overglove I sewed myself from a Frostline kit, half a century ago comes out when shoveling snow when temps are under 20F, plus a few other Frostline kit items.

But I'm a function over fashion guy.

Best mulp comment ever.

5. I am unmoved by this argument. The fact is, most of the first world, especially the Anglosphere, is a pretty nice place to live. If they are truly seeking asylum, then all they need to do is to escape their current circumstances, which is as simple as crossing the border. But no, they are swinging for the fences (baseball) and are imposing themselves upon the best of the best. There is an economic calculus in the decision to head for Australia, Germany, or the USA.

What would be the consequences of an open border policy in Australia? Do a thought experiment. Almost the entire southern hemisphere wants to migrate to the northern hemisphere. The population of Africa is exploding and is projected to grow by billions. Then there is the Middle East, another sh*thole dominated by a murderous ideology. Do you think these people are going to suddenly embrace western liberal values? Did the Puritans suddenly become Iroquois? Mass immigration creates nations within nations. That's not going to work.

Sadly, the first world, if it does not want to be destroyed, has to establish credible deterrence to discourage
uninvited migrants. Some, like the Iranian refugee, will be hurt.

Coetzee is squatting in Australia to avoid living in South Africa. Having spent much of his life pretending to be a moral tutor to South Africans (from a faculty perch), he bugged out rather than live with the consequences of what he'd advocated. Now he's taken his act to South Australia, and bee feted for it. None dare tell him he's a tiresome prat.

What's in that icebox? Riffraff, turbulence, dumplings, tempura, a joint...

Coetzee fled South Africa to Australia after winning the Nobel Prize for his novel "Disgrace" about a white college professor whose lesbian daughter is gang-raped by blacks. The ANC was not at all pleased by "Disgrace."

He's probably the most prominent Boer refugee from black violence, although it's embarrassing for him to be called that.

The movie version of "Disgrace" with John Malkovich as Coetzee's alter ego is pretty decent. Here's my 2009 review:

I suspect that an open-border policy in Australia would bring about a significant number of deaths by drowning. For which Australia would be blamed.

You probably want to think this through a bit. What's more likely to end up in drowning: Paying for cheap passage on a cargo ship which often head mostly empty to Australia or paying a people smuggler?

Most of the Syrian refugees ended up in Turkey and Lebanon. Most Palestinian refugees end up in Jordan. More Central American refugees go to Mexico than the US. It is not accurate to characterize all refugees as "swing for the fences" when clearly the vast majority just want out to whoever can take them.

The vast majority eh? What, you were on the border counting them? Perhaps you missed the "Caravans" that explicitly stated they were headed for the US. They stopped at the fence and were stuck in Mexico. I wish them good luck. Mexico only let them in because they thought the illegal aliens were going to pass right on through Mexico and suck the titty of the US welfare state. Mexico, I am sure, was disappointed to see them with their faces pressed against the fence. Now they are stuck with them. Mexico has a history of cruel treatment of illegal border jumpers. I have been to their southeastern border - it was a military camp populated with soldiers in black toting the black rifles. Don't expect to see too many more caravans crossing Mexico's southern border.

Coetzee fails to mention the thousand or so asylum seekers who died crashing into rocks at Christmas island in at night, on boats that weren't equipped for the trip. That's what he was obliquely referring to in 'drownings at sea' (only when quoting someone else).

Simple fact is so long as there is a strong demand for a trip, and people smugglers who are willing to offer desperate people a trip, then people will die somewhere between Indonesia and the north coast of Australia. This isn't like crossing the Channel, or trekking around the Alps, or even the Rio Grande; there's some 400 miles of open ocean. The Australian navy monitors the ocean to try to spot boats en route, but that's not always successful.

And also, the only reason those people are in those camps are because left leaning politicians suggested that coming via boat would be rewarded with residency. When the right aligned coalition government is in power, those boats stop coming. It's pretty rich to hear a left aligned writer saying that it's all someone else's fault.

You sort of answered your own question. They're heading for the US/West because the other places they could flee are just as bad as where they came from. That and the reach of the people they are fleeing may extend into neighboring countries. The gangs and cartels likely have relationships that extend across Mexico and Central America. The government of Russia has demonstrated it can kill people at long distances - even London isn't safe. Depending on who you are fleeing, their reach may be long, and the immediate neighboring country might not be safe.

#6: this is almost funny in it's lack of self-awareness.

Poll after poll attests that a majority of Australians back stringent border controls. Fed by the right-wing media, the public has swallowed the argument that there is an orderly immigration queue that boat people could have joined but chose not to; further, that most boat people are not genuine refugees but “economic migrants”—as if fleeing persecution and seeking a better life elsewhere were mutually exclusive motives.

The casual assumption that majority support for a policy the author disagrees with must be the result of partisan media manipulation is a bit amusing. He also says the public has "swallowed" an argument about immigration queues and then in the very next paragraph says "there is indeed an orderly queue for applicants waiting to be processed in camps overseas supervised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and the system for processing these humanitarian cases does indeed function smoothly if somewhat slowly..." Not sure the shame here is Australia's, J. M.

To be fair, Australia's immigration policy is pretty far to the Right of US policy. But yes the idea that it some how is a decades old con job by the "right-wing media" is silly. I suspect if you asked the author off the record he'd really blame it on the deplorable, racist voters, but he's smart enough to know that comment would likely backfire.

I didn't have time to more than scan, but I'm confused on one point: Coetzee says of Australia, it is a country Boochani "never wishes to set foot in." So he's been able to write a book, get a book deal, write a play and make a video - but is not free to leave the island? If so, why does Australia wish to indefinitely detain someone who evidently has withdrawn his plea to settle there? Or was the quote meant metaphorically, and he's holding out for a sign from Australia that it has thrown off its right-wing media, which will renew his desire, as a journalist, to settle there?

Would hate by any other name smell as much like white supremacists and mass shooters? It does not matter if it’s Faux news or if it’s something else.

Australia is showing its true KKK colors by marooning innocent people in legal limbo and hopelessness. There’s a lesson here, and that lesson is Trumpian immorality is a cancer. Let the immigrant in. Your morality should reflect Jesus and the Statue of Liberty, not Hitler.

Maybe Russia will take them.

Btw, where are you? Russia? Belarus? ???

Why the hate? Maybe the US as the new hydrocarbon superpower? ???

I cannot tell if this is parody or self parody.

God damn Canada and Australia, socialist hell holes that are racist, white supremacist nations.

"Your morality should reflect Jesus"

So, our laws should reflect Jesus too? I am not sure this is the path to go down.

6. There's a reason why we don't let children pick the restaurant where we will have dinner. One need spend only a few hours in an airport terminal to come to the realization that with few exceptions people have no taste when it comes to clothing, or awful taste may be more accurate. I've always believed professional designers for women's clothing intentionally designed ridiculous looking clothing, gay men designers for sure but women designers as well. Men's clothing may have been drab but at least it wasn't ridiculous (I am ignoring the late 1960s and 1970s as being the result of smoking too much pot). Alas, that all changed when designers of men's clothing decided that every man should dress like Pee-wee Herman. We'll always have Paris. And Brooks Brothers.


Iran got the revolution the people supposedly wanted and we - the USA - didn't do much about it. We took the opposite path with Iraq - regime change - and that was even worse. Afghanistan is a sh*thole - it is unlikely to change very much in our grandchildren's lifetime. Africa is tribal and is going to remain tribal. They are condemned to a future of overpopulation, disease, retarded development, and intertribal warfare. Mexico is a corrupt narcostate making some progress. Brazil is making progress, like their flag says, but is saddled with a legacy of slavery and inequity many times worse than the US.
Central America is a disaster dominated by thuggery. Many, maybe most, want to escape those countries. We can't take them all. They need to fix their own problems and they can start by having fewer children. Every thug in Central America is the child of a Central American mother.

This was a response to Jeff R.

Africa is tribal and is going to remain tribal. They are condemned to a future of overpopulation, disease, retarded development, and intertribal warfare.

'Overpopulation' is not a coherent concept. That aside, Tropical Africa's seen remarkable improvement in life expectancy at birth over the last sixty years and the mean rate across the continent is 61 years, a level not reached by occidental countries until the early 20th century. There are several failed states in Africa suffering a number of pathologies (ethnic rivalries among them), but only an minority of African states have had a history of inter-tribal warfare of any duration or prevalence. Nigeria's civil war came to an end 49 years ago and the violence the country is suffering now is regionally circumscribed and confessional-subcultural-ideological (not tribal) in character. The cleavages in the Sudan and Chad (which came to an end 29 years ago) were as much confessional as tribal. The unlamented Robert Mugabe treated Matabeleland shamefully - over thirty years ago.

I hope that is true. The projections for population growth in Africa are staggering.

I disagree that overpopulation is not a coherent concept. There are at least two ways to characterise overpopulation.

1. The population exceeds the capacity of the society to provide basic public needs like water, medical care, education, waste management, electricity, functional roads, criminal and civil law enforcement, disaster response, etc.

2. The population exceeds the capacity of existing social structures to ensure peaceful cooperation. In other words too many of the wrong people too close together - like Beirut, Lebanon in the early 70s.

I think you are ignoring relatively recent violence in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, ...

Insanity and racism combined.

Beirut and the civil war was a consequence of Maronite phalangists (literally their name! As in Literal Fascism!) deciding to preempt rational and benevolent Islamic rule by starting a multi decade civil war where they were funded by Israel. Israel bankrolled a Nazi paramilitary for decades. Yikes. But again we’re the ones who support Jews, just if they’re willing to surrender the West Bank and Jerusalem. Those Repubs just want the apocalypse!

Free immigration for all countries. Israel included. If a Honduran has the right to move 1000 miles to the US, a Palestinian has the right to move zero miles to claim their right to civil rights.

Live free. BDS

So, you think anyone has the right to go anywhere, then surely any random homeless person should be able to enter your house without your permission because it's their human right. Right?

If a Honduran, any Honduran, or any size group of Hondurans has the right to enter the USA then surely any group of Americans can enter and settle in Honduras, including a group of Americans with guns, a big group with many guns, because that right is reciprocal. Right?

Hondurans have the right to live free - in Honduras. They have the right to be free of interference from any foreign nation, including the USA, but they aren't free to freeload on the backs of Americans, and we are going to assert our right to exclude them, and we are right to do so.

Speaking of insane racism, do re-read your own writing about Jews and Israel. It is both rediculous and insane.

Oh, and congrats for your wimpy partisan punch. Sadly for you, it was a swing and a miss.

2. The population exceeds the capacity of existing social structures to ensure peaceful cooperation. In other words too many of the wrong people too close together - like Beirut, Lebanon in the early 70s.

Population density in greater Beirut was not a cause of the Lebanese civil war.

(While we're at it, the Lebanese Phalange wasn't a fascist party and Israel's aid to it's allies in Lebanon wasn't a causal factor in the war or a driver of any more consequence than the foreign patronage that every other armed force in Lebanon received).

In scenario #2, which you quoted, the max density is a function of the mix of distinct populations, whether they are divided along racial, religious, or tribal lines. In Beirut, it is apparent the wrong kinds of people were too close to each other, even if, in our view, there was plenty of space between them.

That interview with Kevin Hassett was the biggest nothing I've seen in a long time..

I thought Hassett did a great job. The frustration of Lizzie O’Leary when her every attempt to get him to denounce Trump was rebuffed was worth the two minutes I spent reading the interview.

‘O’Leary: Kevin, come on.’ Ha!

Kevin Hassett - “I’m a free trader, except when I’m working for Trump.”

He pointed out one reason for our current tariff regime, IP theft. That was it. And then used a questionable number of its value. Criticism of the Fed? No big deal, every president does it.

As always in his interviews, he seems full of baloney.


It never ceases to amaze me how some people are troubled by the short term impacts of Trump's trade policies while ignoring the hollowing out of US manufacturing since China was granted most favored nation status by Bill Clinton.

We have post-industrial wastelands in the US. The lack of good manufacturing jobs has been a contributor to opioid addiction and the Case/Deaton deaths of despair. Meanwhile, we have strict pollution regulations imposed upon US manufacturing while China pollutes both air and water. China is the number one polluter and is going to continue to burn coal for decades.

Why should we put up with that?

I see. We should poison AMERICANS, not poison the Chinese.

The lack of manufacturing jobs led to opioid addiction? Why didn’t those who lost jobs find other jobs? What happened to the party of personal responsibility?

Are you that ignorant? Do you lack the intelligence and imagination to do the thought experiment? Perhaps you are on the long tail to the left of the IQ distribution. Sorry. Fate and genetics are cruel.

Do Google Anne Case and Angus Deaton.

Check the mirror for ignorance and low IQ. That’s your retort when your hypocrisy is pointed out.

Where's the hypocrisy? Do o point it out.

Did you Google Anne Case and Angus Deaton?

People did not find new jobs because whole communities where economically destroyed when the factories closed.

#4) Not too bad an interview until
O'LEARY: "You are a Christian and you're a parent," so how can you look yourself in the mirror every day when Trump is throwing little children in cages?

I also wish they had discussed the contention that the China tariffs could cost the average household $1000 a year. If you actually bought $1000 of Chinese crap is that same basket of crap -- from China or elsewhere -- now going to cost $2000?

Hassett thinks copyright infringement is the same as stealing a painting.

That $1,000 per year number is crap. It's based upon putting a 25% tariff on every import from China and import levels not decreasing at all.

1. Puerto Ricans flee Puerto Rico because they are too well off, with too much increase in opportunity and wealth ahead?

That would be a weird way to frame things, especially as there is a trend throughout the entire US that folks with more years of formal education and higher incomes are more likely to move from city to city. Why should Puerto Rico be any different?


Off the rack clothes are made VERY cheaply so the regular price allows for ample price discrimination. For ex, a coat's regular price may be $600 if you want to be the first wearing it. If you're less style conscious then you wait for it to go on sale at progressively higher levels of discount, until your willingness-to-pay meets the seller's need to make space for new inventory.

Customized clothing allows the seller to mitigate inventory risk by producing only what is pre-sold, and (at least for now) sold for a premium as it appears to offer personalization. In some instances, for example with men's suits, the personalization is much more limited than the marketing would have you believe. Made-to-measure suits can be ordered based on your measurement, but the seller may just be producing the pattern closest to your size, which isn't exactly made-to-measure, but it's still a nicer fit than what the client would have purchased before and the clients likely doesn't know the difference as true made-to-measure or bespoke is a niche and expensive product.

Coetzee objects to the enforcement of immigration law, especially when it has an impact on someone he considers a peer.

Unlike people showing up at our southern border, this man can at least make a case that he is a political refugee (taking him at face value). What's he doing in Australia? Why not a country more proximate to Iran and with greater cultural similarity?

#4...Hassett is an embarrassment.

"Kevin Hassett, American Enterprise Institute (June 2008)
"The Federal Reserve and Congress have delivered a ton of economic stimulus, and that stimulus is set to juice up an economy that has been weak, but not terrible. If everything goes according to plan, the economy will grow faster in the second half of the year, and a recession will have been avoided."

From Dani Rodrik's blog...

MARCH 26, 2008

Faith-based economics

Kevin Hassett, economics advisor to John McCain, is quoted today as saying:

What really happens is that the economy grows more vigorously when you lower tax rates. It is beyond the reach of economic science to explain precisely why that happens, but it does.

Now you can be excused for thinking that the first of these statements is true, if you have an economically sound reason for it. But if you don't, you shouldn't. "

"James K. Glassman and Kevin A. Hassett. Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market."

Still waiting 20 years later.

I say he's an embarrassment because, although he talks the talk, a small breeze blows him off course from walking the walk. Hassett, Kudlow, Moore, are damaging capitalism by excusing obvious failures. They should sign up as cheerleaders and root from the sidelines.

"I am actually an open borders kind of guy."

"If the U.S. doubled its total immigration and prioritized bringing in new workers, it could add more than half a percentage point a year to expected GDP growth."

I’m a believer in legal immigration, but I also believe the current mess was caused by businesses here using illegal immigration for decades. I believe people knowingly looked away from the issue. Is anybody responsible for that?

I don't know Hassett and from what I always heard he was highly regarded. The interview changed my mind by 180. Another Trump lackey --- a wimp -- who is gutless to say anything bad about Trump. It seems like he signed a binding non-closure agreement. What makes Trump so intimitating?

#5. Coetzee shames Australia for enforcing any immigration limits at all and not immediately granting full lifetime residence and membership to the nation state to every foreigner that shows up.

Is there a similar expectation on public government run universities? That they have to grant full membership to any human that walks up to campus? And excluding people is shameful?

5. The liberals talk a good line but are really very conservative. Case in point: Canada. Very hard to get permanent residence status. You can be deported if you have a chronic illness. Why don't the bleeding heart liberals take in the refugees? Bezos could probably support about 10,000. Same for Gates, Pritzkers, Obamas, Clintons, Pelosi, Schumer, etc.

Australia has had and continues to have one the most generous refugee acceptance policies in the developed world, a program that is accepted - indeed, seen as a point of pride - by both sides of politics and by the public at large.

Maintaining control over migrant & refugee numbers by harsh treatment of unauthorised arrivals is a key contributor to maintaining the perceived validity of the broader migration program. It also helps keep unauthorised arrival numbers low. The situation has hideous aspects, but it is definitely not the unambiguous "shame" Coetzee depicts.

#1: Puerto Rico grew with casinos and brothels, legalized 0n 1920. Then, Nevada legalized gambling and brothels on the 1930s. There was no reason to fly there anymore.

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