10 Thursday AM Reads

Last night’s debate winner was Marco Rubio . . . everyone else wins with our morning train reads:

• Duy: December Still Very Much A Live Meeting (economistsview)
• Investing is not easy. The old guard just makes it harder. (Lindzon)
• Ted Cruz’s best moment of the debate was also completely wrong (Voxsee also Yeah, Jeb Bush Is Probably Toast (fivethirtyeight)
• Apple TV: Everything We Know (MacRumorssee also Apple TV Review: A Giant iPhone for Your Living Room (WSJ)
• The Tantalizing Links between Gut Microbes and the Brain (Scientific American)

Happy Birthday Internet!  Today in 1969, ARPANET went live between UCLA & Stanford Research Institute.

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  1. Low Budget Dave commented on Oct 29

    A friend of mine went to hear Marco Rubio speak one time at the Villages, which is a retirement community for low-information voters in Florida. The line that drew the biggest laughs from the audience was when he said “God didn’t ordain me to be President”. (It was funny because it was the exact opposite of what his campaign staff had been telling everyone for six months.)

    It may be why he is bored with the Senate: He believes God picked him to be President, and feels the Senate is beneath him. No one cares what a Senator thinks, but when he gets to be President, he will be able to preach his Catholic/Mormon/Baptist/Christ Fellowship ideas to a wider (if less willing) audience.

  2. rd commented on Oct 29

    At least Hastert was able to pay off the hush money. If he was stopped by the police on the way to pay off the hush money, they could have just confiscated the cash as suspected proceeds from illicit activities.



    BTW – our criminal law system is a mess. Hastert was actually in a position to do something about it and he didn’t. As a result, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, much of which is for petty crimes. Why shouldn’t a former Speaker of the House partake in this time-honored American tradition of spending time in jail?


    • howardoark commented on Oct 29

      According to the Bureau of Prison Statistics (http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5387 ) 54% of male prisoners in state prisons (757,000) are in for violent crimes. You can end up in the county jail for parking tickets (apparently where Quentin Tarintino got a lot of the dialogue for Pulp Fiction) but generally you’re out in a few days.

      On the other hand (http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv14.pdf ) 1.2 million people were victims of violent crime in 2014. We clearly are not locking up enough people.

    • Ralph commented on Oct 29

      What you actually meant to write is

      “We are locking up the wrong people. Too many in prison for weed, not enough violent offenders go to jail.”

    • Rogue Medic commented on Oct 29

      If we lock up more people for parking tickets, we can expect that to bring down the number of violent crimes.

      Help me understand your non sequitur.


    • howardoark commented on Oct 29

      I agree with the spirit of Ralph’s response, but there are apparently only 400 people in prison (out of almost 2 million) for smoking pot – http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/lists/top-10-marijuana-myths-and-facts-20120822/myth-prisons-are-full-of-people-in-for-marijuana-possession-19691231
      and probably the great bulk of those poor bastards are in Texas and Louisiana. There are 20,000 people in prison for dealing. I don’t personally think prison is the best place for someone caught with five pounds of weed, but that’s not a huge part of the prison population.

      The bottom line is that it’s our culture that’s the problem. The incarceration rate is just a symptom.


      ADMIN: 50% of prison population is drug related; and 40,000 are in for Marijuana

  3. VennData commented on Oct 29

    Republican debate: “The Media is so mean to us and should be nicer, not matter how nutty and innumerate we are”

    All those people vying for the Republican nomination were raised by the worst kind of helicopter moms.

    Stop blaming the media for you guys being nuts!

    • VennData commented on Oct 29

      Hey BP readers, did you know that CNBC is the “Liberal Media”


    • willid3 commented on Oct 29

      wonder how the GOP would feel if the ‘media’ quit inviting them to debates, or even having them at all? or if they quit reporting what they say at all? course the ‘media’ is big business, so its all good, since it gets a lot more attention

    • VennData commented on Oct 29

      Is Putin, Xi, cancer, and the budget numbers going to be ‘nice” to a Republican president?

      Those clowns on the stage last night are not leaders. They’re raging balls of childish fury.

    • VennData commented on Oct 29

      Ben Carson calls on rival campaigns to help him end ‘gotcha’ debate questions


      Ben’s right, Putin, Xi, ISIS never ask Gotcha questions ​like what is government debt?

  4. VennData commented on Oct 29

    Hey financial know-nothings. Stop saying “The Law of large numbers is working/will be working etc on Apple.”

    The LLN has nothing to do with big companies getting too big to grow.

    “…In probability theory, the law of large numbers (LLN) is a theorem that describes the result of performing the same experiment a large number of times….”

  5. JMelville commented on Oct 29

    Haster got his. Now did the payee get a visit from the IRS?

    • Iamthe50percent commented on Oct 29

      Is crime compensation taxable? I didn’t have to pay income tax when my insurance company paid me for hail damage.

    • MidlifeNocrisis commented on Oct 29

      Income tax evasion was one of the charges that put Al Capone in Alcatraz.

    • RW commented on Oct 29

      Is crime compensation taxable? Possibly, at least in some jurisdictions, but we’re not dealing with an insurance adjustment here and, since the compensation was not court ordered, it appears to be irrelevant to the Hastert case regardless.

      The media was quite polite in calling it hush money but in blunt terms Hastert was being blackmailed for having sex with a minor by the putative victim of that act and while Hastert’s plea deal, and possibly prosecutorial deference, appears to shield the victim/blackmailer from criminal charges there doesn’t appear to be any reason that would deter the tax collector.

    • intlacct commented on Oct 30

      Absolutely. But the expenses (at least some of them) may be deductible!

  6. VennData commented on Oct 29

    “…The establishment Republicans who form the spine of the Bush campaign now are expressing acute buyers’ remorse: They signed up because it was the thing to do, but now they realize they’re stuck on the wrong horse. Out of respect for Presidents Bush 41 and 43, some family retainers refused to discuss what they see as a death in the family. Others were suddenly clinical, after holding their tongues as the campaign meandered. One well-known GOP operative, who has endorsed Bush, said in response to our email asking how Jeb should try to come back: “I think it’s very tough. Hard to articulate a path.”


    Out of “respect for the Bush family” ROFL The worst President ever? Are you kidding me?!

    The clown car lost their driver.

  7. RW commented on Oct 29

    The Underpants Gnomes Theory of how the US imports a global recession
    I have read a number of articles over the last several months, including one this past week, all of which can be summarized as follows:

    1. China is undergoing a downturn.
    2. This has spread to China’s suppliers, who are undergoing worse downturns.
    3. ?????
    4. This will bring about a US recession.

    This is the “underpants gnomes” theory of how the US will import a global recession …None of the articles had any detailed or credible explanation of what step 3 is. It is all vagueness and hand-waving. …

    NB: Could the US slip into recession? Sure but citing international trade as sole cause lacks verisimilitude; there is no real-world mechanism that gets us there w/o some other factor involved; e.g., the Fed raises rates at the same time.

    Will the Fed raise rates sooner rather than later? Who the hell knows: Their own models say not but this has been a crazy decade, particularly among putative conservatives, and this week has been crazier than most so any folly seems possible.

    • rd commented on Oct 29

      I think it is how you import an “earnings recession” without necessarily having an economic recession. Many of the S&P500 firms gave up on the US as a “growth” market over the past decade and focused on overseas, especially China. This was particularly important for them because of all the cash they had sitting outside the US they didn’t want to bring back to the US because of taxes. Instead, they could invest it in plants etc. abroad, sell products and services abroad, and generate more cash abroad that wouldn’t get repatriated. So if Europe, Brazil, and China are sucking wind, then that reduces their overseas profit potential while still not solving their repatriation of cash problem.

      So we may or may not have a recession her. I would be surprised if it would be deep in any case. However, that type of recession-light scenario didn’t prevent the stock market from taking a major header in 2000-2003 when people suddenly realized that many of their beloved tech investments were never going to make money. This time around, I think it will be the discovery that overseas markets will not just expand forever without breaks, increasing labor costs in the US and abroad, and declining productivity due to stupid management processes and decisions that add up to declining profits that will be the primary challenge.

    • RW commented on Oct 29

      Earnings decline in international terms seems likely and on the domestic front too for that matter so global corps could get hit on both fronts; e.g.,
      Growth Falls Off Sharply in Third Quarter
      The economy grew at a 1.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter, a sharp slowing from the 3.9 percent rate reported for the second quarter. The falloff was largely due to slower inventory growth. …

      There were few surprises in the report. …

      But that only makes the language in the FOMC minutes more puzzling: This and more is all known at the Fed so leaving even the faintest possibility of a December rate increase on the table appears perverse. Since Fed leadership is not likely perverse I can only assume the pressure on them to raise rates is strong enough to elicit attempts at deflection; that is not an encouraging thought.

    • Futuredome commented on Oct 29

      Earnings aren’t declining, but rising. Look like Q4 GDP will reaccelerate as well. You have to adjust for inflation, earnings are going very well. Even foreign earnings have bottomed.

      There is no chance of a recession. Just the next financial bubble which is already popping up.

  8. rd commented on Oct 29

    At some point in time voters will figure out that the basic playbook in Washington is entitled “To Serve Man”.http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734684/synopsis?ref_=tt_stry_pl

    Yesterday’s budget deal appears to gut a provision for married couples executing some file-and-suspend strategies with Social Security, presumably because people who have paid Social Security taxes for their entire worker life are viewed as “Takers”: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/28/retirement-congress-fileandsuspend-perso-idUSL1N12S37420151028?virtualBrandChannel=11563

    However, I don’t believe that the same budget bill got rid of the “carried interest” provision for hedge fund performance fees (total tax benefits about the same as saved in the move on SS), presumably because hedge fund managers add value to society as “Makers”: http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS22689.pdf

    I assume that it also doesn’t touch corporate agricultural subsidies either, since they might lose the family farm in a bad year.

    • Iamthe50percent commented on Oct 29

      File and Suspend is a scam. If you undo your filing, your wife’s spousal should be undone as well.
      When you retire, retire! Don’t cross your fingers behind your back.

    • rd commented on Oct 29

      File and suspend is theoretically actuarial neutral -you suspend your payments up to age 70 and then they give you more money per month. On a population basis, SS should pay out the same amount either way but it is effectively increasing your annuity payout amount in case you live longer than average. If you have a surviving spouse ,they can get that higher amount after you die.

      The part they are eliminating is the ability to take a spousal benefit while your payment is suspended. This is a common claiming strategy for the middle class as long as they have enough savings to make up the difference for those handful of years.

      Since they are eliminating payments to a middle class person, it is not a tax increase and therefore ok per Grover Norquist. Eliminating the carried interest provision for hedge fund performance fees would be a tax increase, and therefore not ok with Grover Norquist.

    • ilsm commented on Oct 29

      The budget deal cuts SS, DI and Medicare payouts to fill the pentagon trough for more useless drone strike murder and bombing the deserts to blunt ISIL…………

      Militarist Keynesianism is insane as the GOP delusionary tax proposals.

      Any questioning of GOP insanity is rude.

  9. Jojo commented on Oct 29

    Re: The Tantalizing Links between Gut Microbes and the Brain
    What this shows is that the body is a SYSTEM where all parts interact and together, affect the whole. The fact that the human body is a a complex system is why the standard USA medical approach to treating the symptom rather than the problem is a failure. Instead of trying to discover the root problem, which might take time and could be expensive, many MD’s just prescribe a pill or potion. High cholesterol? Take a pill. Acid reflux? Take a pill. High blood pressure? Take a pill. etc., etc. People don’t get better but their symptoms are muted, which makes HEALTHCARE USA happy.

    Here is another complementary article on gut bacteria:

    Newborns’ Gut Microbes Signal Asthma Risk Later in Life
    By Kiona Smith-Strickland | September 30, 2015

  10. VennData commented on Oct 29

    Hey! No College shootings today!

    • Jojo commented on Oct 29


  11. RW commented on Oct 29

    Consensus seems to be that CNBC did a poor job moderating the debate and many of the questions probably sounded off-the-wall-(street) to the majority of the audience but that’s not the main reason the candidates had trouble responding coherently.
    Ted Cruz’s best moment of the Republican debate was also completely wrong
    … Cruz’s attack on the moderators was smart politics — but it was almost precisely backwards. The questions in the CNBC debate, though relentlessly tough, were easily the most substantive of the debates so far. And the problem for Republicans is that substantive questions about their policy proposals end up sounding like hostile attacks — but that’s because the policy proposals are ridiculous, not because the questions are actually unfair. …

    • rd commented on Oct 29

      Our current state of politics: incoherent responses to baffling questions.

  12. VennData commented on Oct 29

    Boehner on the gotcha constituents…

    “Understand what’s going on here,” he said, when asked about pressure he’d faced in recent years from conservatives. Unlike when he entered Congress two decades ago, there now are hundreds of radio hosts “trying to out-right each other” along with social media propelling voters into different camps, he said. That has boosted “the ability of a small group of members, or some small outside organizations, to stir up antics or mislead people,” the Ohio Republican told a small group of reporters gathered in his office on Wednesday…”


    ‘… unless I’d decided not to stick to the Hastert Rule. When he didn’t, things got done.

    Imagine that.

  13. VennData commented on Oct 29

    Howard L in the link above claims, “They are being banged over the head with ‘set and forget’ investing and ‘tax harvesting’. Time will tell if this is better for a generation than learning the language of the markets.

    This IS the way to invest. Mark Cuban is wrong. His Alibaba example assumes you can trade out of the top and into the bottom.

    Ignore Howard Lindzon at all costs. You will not trade your way to wealth. Asset allocate, rebalance, tax harvest if it’s appropriate. By being average you will be above average after fees. What more can you ask for?

    • intlacct commented on Oct 30

      Even if Cuban/Lindzon is right, it is a closed system. One man’s gain is another man’s loss.

  14. VennData commented on Oct 29

    Lord Abbott at Vanguard’s advisors perspective claims without evidence”… even to this day all those rules are not yet written, many uncertainties brought by this legislation remain, weigh on decision-making, and, accordingly, hold back the pace of growth…”

    Tally then up versus the benefits if my better, cheaper health insurance and confidence in the banks. Oh you and the Republicans can’t take the time to PROVE what you claim?

    Sorry for the Gotcha.

    • Jojo commented on Oct 29

      Haha. You kill me VD. :)

      You should get your own blog.

  15. romerjt commented on Oct 29

    Someone needs to ask Mr. Carson if he actually believes the Republican party whose geographic base is the Confederate states of the old South would actually nominate and work to elect a black president so that another black family moves into the White House and another black president gets to fly around on Air Force One? Didn’t he see the racist Obama Tea Party signs, did he miss the voter photo ID laws, again concentrated in the old Confederacy, to eliminate black votes? How can this be for real? Here’s a fair question for all the candidates, “Given the racial history of your party, do you think Mr. Carson has a realistic chance to get the nomination and would you work hard support his election”?

    • Robert M commented on Oct 29


  16. VennData commented on Oct 29

    Chris Christie not amused by fantasy football question

    Chris Christie only deals in serious stuff, especially from Jerrah’s box where he supports the Cowboys from the heart of Giants country. So remember that Chris Christie only talks about ISIS and Putin and not gaming law.


    CNBC did a great job in the face of these outrage creators.

    Remember kid the world’s on FIRE! And always is.

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