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Zorro

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 10,106

Journal Archives

Pimco says U.S. Treasury securities could soon have a negative yield

Pacific Investment Management Co. has joined the chorus of voices warning that U.S. Treasury bond yields may eventually go negative.

In a blog post Tuesday, Joachim Fels, global economic advisor at the fixed-income investing giant, said it’s “no longer absurd to think that the nominal yield on U.S. Treasury securities could go negative.” At least 11 countries have negative 10-year yields, and Germany’s 30-year yield joined the rest of its curve below zero last week.

U.S. 10- and 30-year yields were near their lowest levels this year, with the 30-year at 2.25%, close to its record low 2.088% in 2016. The 10-year Treasury yield, at about 1.73%, compares with around -0.59% for German bunds of the same maturity.

Negative U.S. yields require a “major Fed easing cycle” that remains “a possibility rather than a probability,” Fels wrote. “But if the Fed cuts rates all the way back down to zero and restarts quantitative easing, negative yields on U.S. Treasuries could swiftly change from theory to reality.”

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-08-07/pimco-negative-yields-us-treasury-bonds

This isn't a welcome headline.

Study Finds Average Squirrel Lives Through Human Equivalent Of 7 Action Films Every Day



FORT COLLINS, CO—Revealing new insights into the animals’ high-risk lifestyle, a study released Monday by zoologists at Colorado State University found that the average squirrel lives through the human equivalent of seven action films every day.

“Before you’ve even sat down for lunch, a normal squirrel has already faced a dozen adrenaline-pumping experiences far more insane than all the Die Hard movies combined,” said lead researcher Dr. Bryce Roper, noting that the rodents routinely engage in leaps between branches more death-defying than any Jackie Chan stunt and dodge predators more ferocious than the Terminator.

“Being chased along rooftops in Istanbul as bad guys lean out of helicopters to gun you down is perhaps the closest a human could come to understanding the day-to-day life of a squirrel. Maybe multiply that by three and add in witnessing a villain kidnap your child after murdering your spouse, then you’ll get the picture.”

The study also found that emotionally, the average squirrel experiences love 10 times more fiercely than Ryan Gosling’s character in The Notebook.

https://www.theonion.com/study-finds-average-squirrel-lives-through-human-equiva-1836993879

Health insurance companies are useless. Get rid of them.

The most perplexing aspect of our current debate over healthcare and health coverage is the notion that Americans love their health insurance companies.

This bizarre idea surfaced most recently in the hand-wringing over proposals to do away with private coverage advocated by some of the candidates for the Democratic nomination for president. Oddly, this position has been treated as a vote-loser.

During the first round of televised debates on July 30 and 31, only four of the 20 candidates raised their hands when asked if they would ban private insurers as part of their proposals for universal coverage: Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Harris later backed away, releasing a “Medicare for all” proposal that would accommodate private insurers at least for the first 10 years.

She should have stood her ground. The truth is that private health insurers have contributed nothing of value to the American healthcare system. Instead, they have raised costs and created an entitled class of administrators and executives who are fighting for their livelihoods, using customers’ premium dollars to do so.

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-08-05/health-insurance-useless

Meet the neglected 43-year-old stepchild of the U.S. military-industrial complex

The icebreaker Polar Star was 1,000 miles out of its home port of Seattle last December, three days into its yearly voyage to resupply scientific bases in Antarctica, when a powerful swell hit its bow and flooded the deck.

The ship shuddered.

The roar of the ventilators in the galley quit as Joseph Sellar, a stocky 25-year-old Coast Guard culinary specialist from New Hampshire, watched seawater explode from the ceiling.

He lunged toward a switch to close the overhead vents. With a loud pop, an outlet ejected a purple spark.

https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-08-02/antarctica-polar-star-icebreaker

We have studied every mass shooting since 1966. Here's what we've learned about the shooters

In the last week, more than 30 people have died in three separate mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. We believe that analyzing and understanding data about who commits such massacres can help prevent more lives being lost.

For two years, we’ve been studying the life histories of mass shooters in the United States for a project funded by the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. We’ve built a database dating back to 1966 of every mass shooter who shot and killed four or more people in a public place, and every shooting incident at schools, workplaces, and places of worship since 1999. We’ve interviewed incarcerated perpetrators and their families, shooting survivors and first responders. We’ve read media and social media, manifestos, suicide notes, trial transcripts and medical records.

Our goal has been to find new, data-driven pathways for preventing such shootings. Although we haven’t found that mass shooters are all alike, our data do reveal four commonalities among the perpetrators of nearly all the mass shootings we studied.

First, the vast majority of mass shooters in our study experienced early childhood trauma and exposure to violence at a young age. The nature of their exposure included parental suicide, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and/or severe bullying. The trauma was often a precursor to mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, thought disorders or suicidality.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-08-04/el-paso-dayton-gilroy-mass-shooters-data

Russian Land of Permafrost and Mammoths Is Thawing

The lab assistant reached into the freezer and lifted out a football-size object in a tattered plastic grocery bag, unwrapping its muddy covering and placing it on a wooden table. It was the severed head of a wolf.

The animal, with bared teeth and mottled fur, appeared ready to lunge. But it had been glowering for some 32,000 years — preserved in the permafrost, 65 feet underground in Yakutia in northeastern Siberia.

As the Arctic, including much of Siberia, warms at least twice as fast as the rest of the world, the permafrost — permanently frozen ground — is thawing. Oddities like the wolf’s head have been emerging more frequently in a land already known for spitting out frozen woolly mammoths whole.

The thawing of the permafrost — along with other changes triggered by global warming — is reshaping this incredibly remote region sometimes called the Kingdom of Winter. It is one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, and huge; Yakutia, if independent, would be the world's eighth largest country.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/04/world/europe/russia-siberia-yakutia-permafrost-global-warming.html

Mulvaney defends Trump in wake of El Paso, Dayton shootings

Source: Washington Post

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday defended President Trump after mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, calling the shooters “sick people” and disputing that either shooting was linked to politics.

“This is not appropriate. This is way beyond the pale. These are sick people,” Mulvaney said on ABC News’s “This Week.”

Other Republicans, including Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), blamed the shooting on video games and social media.

Their comments came as Democrats argued that Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about immigrants and people of color has fueled the type of hatred on display in a manifesto that investigators believe was posted online by the El Paso shooting suspect, which listed angry — and, at times, jumbled — motivations for the attack, including rants about a “Hispanic invasion.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mulvaney-defends-trump-in-wake-of-el-paso-dayton-shootings/2019/08/04/f62af682-b6b9-11e9-bad6-609f75bfd97f_story.html



The party of "responsibility".

Just before a shooter killed 20 in El Paso, the NRA celebrated looser Texas gun laws

What is most horrifying about the killings in El Paso, Texas, where a man openly carrying a rifle strolled into a Walmart in a shopping mall and opened fire, killing at least 20 people and wounding another 40, is not that they happened.

Nor even that they reflect a circumstance of American life that has become so mundane that politicians can pull a premasticated statement of “thoughts and prayers” out of their files and post it on Twitter even before the blood has dried. (President Trump was quick out of the box to uselessly offer a tweeted “God be with you all.”)

No. What was most horrifying is what the El Paso shootings tell us about the utter inability and unwillingness of our political leaders to heed the message of gun violence by doing something about it. Texas is a model case, for its legislators and governor not only turned down measures that would impose rational controls on gun owners, but loosened existing laws.

This was done under pressure from the National Rifle Assn. and its Texas branch, known as the Texas State Rifle Assn. Just six weeks ago, on June 29, the NRA’s Texas lobbyist crowed that 2019 was a “highly successful” year for the organization. Every single bill backed by the NRA and passed by the Legislature received the signature of Gov. Greg Abbott.

“When you get 10 pro-2nd Amendment bills to the governor and he signs them all, I would rank it up there with one of the most successful sessions we’ve had since I’ve been doing this,” the lobbyist, Tara Mica, told the Dallas Morning News.

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-08-04/nra-celebrated-looser-texas-gun-laws-before-el-paso-shooting

In conversations with investors, defense firms double down on hypersonic weapons

America’s biggest defense contractors are finding a growth market in hypersonic weaponry — missiles that could dodge air defenses by flying five times the speed of sound — as U.S. military leaders have repeatedly described deploying such weapons as a national priority.

They are hoping to profit from an international arms race in hypersonic weaponry that has drawn the United States into a Cold War-style competition with Russia and China.

With military officials hoping to transition from research and development to the more cash-intensive production work over the next several years, top U.S. defense contractors are jockeying for position. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Boeing are among the companies developing hypersonic weapons.

Much of the work is classified. But executives from several large U.S. defense contractors say they are already receiving billions of dollars in related military contract funding.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/02/conversations-with-investors-defense-firms-double-down-hypersonic-weapons/

McConnell's new posture toward Moscow

“Moscow Mitch” was red hot.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the Senate floor Monday, denounced critics (including me) who say his recent blocking of efforts to fortify defenses against another Russian attack on U.S. elections are aiding and abetting Vladimir Putin.

“For decades, I have used my Senate seat to stand up to Russia,” the Kentucky Republican protested.

Unfortunately for McConnell, two days later came a reminder that he has taken a rather different posture toward Russia of late. Indeed, it appears, he has been key to helping Russian oligarchs with ties to Putin skirt U.S. sanctions and invest in an aluminum mill in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mcconnells-new-posture-toward-moscow/2019/08/02/a3b5a080-b53f-11e9-951e-de024209545d_story.html
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