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Algernon Moncrieff

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Member since: Sat Apr 19, 2014, 11:49 PM
Number of posts: 5,047

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This $100 Million Noah's Ark Theme Park Is a Boring, Homophobic Mess



Content-wise, this area has massive potential. It shows what the world was like before the flood, which was apparently lots of people vs. dinosaur gladiator battles, human sacrifices, and people getting eaten by sharks.

But, unfortunately, with the exception of three dioramas, all of that is depicted using a bunch of pictures and text on boards stuck to the wall.

IS IT FUN ENOUGH TO CONVERT YOU TO A CREATIONIST BELIEF SYSTEM? No. I can’t imagine it would’ve taken a massive chunk out of their overall budget to make this section a dark ride or a haunted house or something.
Posted by Algernon Moncrieff | Fri Jan 4, 2019, 01:04 AM (13 replies)

The Dollar Store Backlash Has Begun

Citylab via MSN Money

As Lawrence Brown, a community health expert at Baltimore’s Morgan State University, tweeted in response to the ILSR report, dollar stores function as “subprime groceries.” And recently some local governments have started pushing back on these retailers, rejecting development at the neighborhood level or devising ordinances that seek to limit their spread in certain areas.

Such moves can be divisive—detractors point to the dire need such stores are meeting in retail-starved areas. But the rise of dollar stores represents a deeper problem, one rooted in the history of housing segregation. Addressing that issue requires questioning the host of complicated assumptions that have led to the present conditions—and the myriad ways residents in so-called food deserts have responded to them.

The “food desert” paradox

Ashanté Reese, an assistant professor at Spelman College, lives on Atlanta’s Westside, within two miles of a pair of dollar stores. Her zip code was particularly hard hit in the recession, suffering a 50 percent foreclosure rate. Those demographics are now changing, but the residents for a long time included elderly folks and people on fixed incomes—the exact kind of shoppers dollar-store executives have said they are targeting.

There’s also a traditional supermarket, a Kroger, which is where Reese shops. But the one near her house isn’t as nice as the one 15 minutes away, she says. The one in a whiter, more affluent neighborhood regularly advertises grains, nuts, seafood, olives, and wine.

Posted by Algernon Moncrieff | Wed Jan 2, 2019, 12:15 PM (63 replies)

4Warned is 4Armed

Here is what is being posted at 4Chan re: Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren has announced a run for the presidency. Now is the time to move.

Go to the New York Times comment sections. Go to Reddit. Go to Twitter. Pose as a concerned Democrat and criticize her for being white. Criticize her for being a woman. Do whatever it takes to further divide the left and prevent them from unifying behind a candidate for 2020.

If we can manufacture another Bernie/Hillary split, they'll get crushed in the general election.

It's the primaries, so I get that there are going to be some frank exchanges of opinion among the DUers. Let's keep in mind that, no matter who we support in the runup to 2020, the ultimate goal is to rid this nation of a corrupt president who threatens our democracy.
Posted by Algernon Moncrieff | Tue Jan 1, 2019, 06:42 PM (17 replies)

Marketwatch: The best and worst stocks of 2018


One very important theme for investors during 2018 has been the return to volatility, as investors worry about Federal Reserve tightening and President Trump’s trade dispute with China.

The market always looks ahead, and another important focus for investors is the massive cut in the maximum federal income-tax rate for corporations that was passed in December 2017 that has boosted corporate earnings tremendously this year. Investors won’t enjoy similar year-over-year comparisons when first-quarter 2019 results are reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.85% has fallen 6.7% this year through Friday, but it is down 14.4% from the intraday high it hit on Oct. 3. Illustrating the volatility, the best performer of the year among the S&P 500 SPX, +0.59% has been Advanced Micro Devices AMD, +2.89% which is up 73% for the year, but which has also fallen 42% during the fourth quarter.

This has been the worst year for the Dow since 2008, and the first decline for the benchmark index since 2015, when it was down 2.2%.
Posted by Algernon Moncrieff | Mon Dec 31, 2018, 01:50 PM (0 replies)

Editorial: Trump and sheriff exploit officer's death for political points

SF Chron

Cpl. Ronil Singh’s death during a traffic stop Wednesday is heartbreaking on so many levels. Singh, born in Fiji, exemplified an uplifting story of an immigrant who wanted to serve his new homeland. His family’s loss is society’s loss. Any assault on the men and women who protect and serve their communities — putting their lives on the line — is an unacceptable breach on the boundaries of civilized order.

Yet Christianson and Trump crossed the lines of decency by jumping to the conclusion, wholly prematurely, that the presence of sanctuary city laws or a wall on the southern border could have prevented this act of violence. Many respected law enforcement officials conclude that the relationship with immigrant communities allowed by sanctuary laws advances the cause of public safety by encouraging victims and witnesses in crimes to come forward.

This was not Trump’s only attempt to seize on death for a political point about immigration. His first public comment about the deaths of two immigrant children in U.S. custody was to blame Democrats for their “pathetic immigration policies.” He offered no condolences, no hint of his government’s responsibility. “Border Patrol needs the Wall and it will all end,” he tweeted.

His response was shameful, disingenuous — and all too predictable.

Note - no matter how we feel about Trump or Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, we should all mourn the loss of Ronil Singh, who gave his life in the line of duty. I'm genuinely thrilled his killer and his aiders/abettors have been arrested. That said, the wall isn't a good answer, and if we are spending $5B on law enforcement, I could suggest better uses, such as ensuring that every rape kit for the past 30 years is tested and doing far more to prevent mass shootings -- especially in schools.
Posted by Algernon Moncrieff | Mon Dec 31, 2018, 02:38 AM (1 replies)

MarketWatch: Opinion: Mnuchin can't stand up to his boss -- and it's costing you money


Imagine missing Donald Regan, President Reagan’s famously irascible Treasury secretary, on Christmas Eve. Imagine spending a morning normally devoted to preparing to mark the birth of a savior brushing up on the exact requirements of the 25th Amendment for removing a president of the United States from office.

But that’s what I did, as more of your retirement money and mine was flushed down the toilet, courtesy of current Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s utterly inexplicable decision this weekend to weigh in publicly on big U.S. banks’ ability to withstand a run that literally no one had said was happening, as part of a panicking administration’s unwillingness to tell President Donald Trump “no” about anything.

“I’ve got fuck-you money,” said Regan, reportedly. “Anytime I want, I’m gone.”

Which Mnuchin might have recalled when he tweeted about whether the president could, or would, fire the nominally independent Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates faster than Trump would like. Or before he got the bright idea to call the heads of the six biggest U.S. banks to ask whether a perfectly routine stock-market correction would force them to cut off credit to a $20 trillion economy by this morning. And to tweet about that, too, in a move that will, one predicts, quickly be traced either to an edict from the boss or a misplaced desire to dance as fast as Mnuchin can to placate Trump.
Posted by Algernon Moncrieff | Wed Dec 26, 2018, 08:19 AM (1 replies)

MarketWatch: Opinion: This still looks like just a stock-market correction, not something worse

Mark Hulbert

Consider the stock market’s decline over the first three months of the 2007-2009 financial crisis—the worst since the Great Depression. The S&P 500 fell 10.0% over the three months following its top on Oct. 9, 2007, barely even satisfying the semiofficial definition of a correction. The Dow fell 11.1%.

Or take the market’s decline over the first three months after the bursting of the internet bubble. The S&P 500 fell just 5.6%, and the Dow 6.4%.

Corrections, in contrast, have a different contrarian profile. Their sudden and abrupt nature strikes fear in investors’ hearts, thereby setting up the sentiment preconditions for the market to soon climb a Wall of Worry.

This is certainly consistent with what we’ve seen in recent months. As I wrote two weeks ago, rarely over the last 20 years have short-term stock market timers been more bearish than they are currently.
Posted by Algernon Moncrieff | Tue Dec 25, 2018, 04:26 PM (4 replies)

To MAGA Refugees and Fox News Orphans, on Christmas


The separation you feel and the distance you are experiencing is for good reason. You know why you’re here right now. This isn’t a capricious response to some minor moment of misunderstanding, not some flippant mood swing triggered by a singular blowup. This is the slow, steady, and devastating realization that you and some people you have lived life alongside—aren’t morally compatible.

You are here because that is the cost of not being silent about the deepest contents of your heart. You are because you will not soften your deepest spiritual convictions, which means that this distance, as painful as it is—is to be celebrated. You are where you are supposed to be.

Yes, some of the relationships that are broken right now may find healing, but others may not. This Christmas might not be the last one you face, without the people you expected to be there, and that’s simply the truth.

But there will be others around you next year, in fact many are already there; people who have or will become family and tribe, not by blood—but by choice; people who too are fleeing their homes and seeking refuge elsewhere.
Posted by Algernon Moncrieff | Sun Dec 23, 2018, 12:33 AM (0 replies)

Mattis & Why We Need to End Our Self-Destructive, Mindless Wars in Middle East

Democracy Now

ANDREW BACEVICH: I think my answer to your question is: I really don’t know. And I think one of the things that’s important here is the difficulty of knowing whether, when Trump makes these decisions, there really is any—that he has any larger purpose in mind at all. As I said, when he ran for the presidency, he ran as an antiwar candidate. Now, whether or not he ran as an antiwar candidate because of some principled opposition to the wars that he inherited, or whether he did it because he thought it was a way to win votes, is impossible to say.

Where we find ourselves at the present moment—and I do think it’s a huge problem—is that his commitment to Saudi Arabia, combined with the reaffirmation of the U.S. commitment to Israel, to my mind, creates the likelihood that the United States is going to continue to contribute to disorder, instability in the region, as we have done ever since the George W. Bush administration invaded Iraq in 2003. That is to say, despite this withdrawal from Syria, if it actually happens—you know, so many times he announces something and then reverses course. But even assuming that the withdrawal from Syria happens, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we have anything like a coherent policy in the region.

So, the people who get excited about Mattis’s resignation and see the possibility there of chaos, of confusion, of disorder, I think their fears are justified. That said, what they seem to not focus on is that the course that Mattis represented—that is to say, the continuation of U.S. wars in the Middle East that have produced nothing positive—that that supposed wisdom was not going to, and has not and would not, produce anything positive, no matter how long we persist.
Posted by Algernon Moncrieff | Sat Dec 22, 2018, 09:03 PM (5 replies)

Al Franken and David Frum


Sometimes, even often, I worry about how the Mueller Investigation will end. When Matt Whitaker was appointed Acting Attorney General, it occurred to me that this guy has the power to block any Mueller Report from becoming public.

So, I asked David Frum of The Atlantic Monthly to discuss the threat Donald Trump presents to our democracy, a threat he describes brilliantly in his bestseller, Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic.

David and I had a lively discussion. (Sometimes, I interrupted him.) But we had a lot of fun, and David invited me to his annual Chanukah party, where I met a lot of his friends.

Give it a listen, won’t you?
Posted by Algernon Moncrieff | Wed Dec 19, 2018, 08:51 PM (4 replies)
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