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April 2014

Three interesting pieces on sports

"Meet the Bag Man: How to Buy College Football Players in the Words of a Man Who Delivers the Money". Argues that virtually all SEC football players are on the take. I believe it.

"If You Want To Be A Pro Soccer Player, It Helps To Be Born In January". 

"Proof That America Fills Out March Madness Brackets Like Idiots". Observes that a suprisingly large number of people simply pick all the favorites. 

"Report Finds Los Angeles at Risk of Decline"

Cali politicians can keep covering up and they can keep kicking the can down the road, but sooner or later the truth will out

But the most worrisome blow by far is a scathing verdict on Los Angeles’s civic health that was delivered in a one-two punch — the second on Wednesday — by a committee of lawyers, developers, labor leaders and former elected officials who make up something of the Old Guard here. The Los Angeles 2020 Commission presented a catalog of failings that it said were a unique burden to the city: widespread poverty and job stagnation, huge municipal pension obligations, a struggling port and tourism industry and paralyzing traffic that would not be eased even with a continuing multibillion-dollar mass transit initiative.

News from Baghdad by the Bay

As usual, a public employee union doesn't seem to worry at all about who will have to pay the bill:

From fighting Google buses to protesting Ellis Act evictions, San Francisco's 9,475-member Service Employees International Union local has been leading the campaign for a more livable city. Now it's putting its members' own economic agenda front and center at City Hall.

The SEIU's proposed new contract with the city includes calls for:

-- A 15 percent raise over the next three years.

-- A $21-an-hour minimum wage for all city workers.

-- Fully paid health coverage for single workers, 98 percent paid coverage for couples and 85 percent coverage for families.

-- A free clinic just for city workers to go along with the health coverage.

-- A free $50,000 life insurance policy for SEIU workers. Seven other city unions already have free life insurance.

"Welcome to the new mayor’s education plan, where he’ll be able to claim victory because failure has been outlawed."

But there's also this:

There is one glorious exception: the best charter schools. They’re not asking to be exempt from the higher standards. Their students are meeting them because their teachers and parents understand the purpose and embrace the challenge.

The startling comparisons between charters and traditional public schools in places like Harlem explain why charters must be allowed to expand.

"T-Bonds Are Universally Hated, Not a Single Economist Expects an Economic Downturn"

Pater Tenebrarum, an "an independent analyst and economist/social theorist," writes:

This is an astonishing degree of consensus thinking, but it perfectly mirrors the complacency we see in stock market sentiment and positioning data. The probability that such a unanimous view will turn out to be correct is traditionally extremely low.

Interesting. To make a lot of money in the market, you're supposed to zig when everybody else zags. 

Unfortunately, that can make you broke real quick, too. (If I was brave enough, I'd buy some bonds and short the market heavily now. But I think I'll pass.)

"The Pacific’s Salmon Are Back — Thank Human Ingenuity"

You'd think everyone would cheer this.

You'd be wrong.

Robert Zubrin explains:

Native Americans bringing back the salmon and preserving their way of life, while combating global warming: One would think that environmentalists would be very pleased.

One would be very wrong. Far from receiving applause for their initiative, the Haida and Mr. George have become the target of rage aimed from every corner of the community seeking to use global warming as a pretext for curtailing human freedom.

You can't make stuff like this up.