I’m taking a much-needed vacation for a few days.
That’s pretty much all I have to say about that, but here’s a useful reminder that it’s not cool to jump out and scare people:
Financial Start-Ups Aim to Court the Anti-Finance Crowd, William Alden, New York Times, December 22, 2014
Profit is usually a top priority on Wall Street, but some of the latest ventures into finance by start-ups seem to be inspired more by Karl Marx than John Pierpont Morgan.
A number of new financial start-ups are trying to reach younger and middle-class Americans by upending the customary fee structure of traditional brokerage firms and money managers. They are backed by deep-pocketed venture capital investors — and even celebrities like the rapper Snoop Dogg — who are wagering that these upstarts can challenge the Wall Street establishment.
Robinhood, a new brokerage firm based in Palo Alto, Calif., whose founders were inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, introduced an app this month that lets customers trade stocks without paying commissions. (The firm plans to make money by offering margin loans and by collecting a portion of the interest earned on customer money invested in money market funds.)
Some industry experts have voiced skepticism about the viability of the new business models, including those of Aspiration and Robinhood. But venture capitalists have been happy to bet that technology-focused start-ups can offer more appealing products for buying stocks or managing savings.
North Carolina’s Outrageous Abortion Requirement Is Struck Down, Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, December 22, 2014 Continue reading
The Booman Tribune takes on Politico‘s assertions regarding “a new mocking tone that the president is adopting on the stump to ridicule science-denying Republicans.” What caught my eye, though, is the discussion of how climate-change deniers benefit, at least in the very short term, from denial:
Ultimately, what the Republicans are doing amounts to fraud. In the example of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, denying the predicted rate of sea level rise is a way to artificially boost your property values, which is a crime against the people who will unwittingly pay too much for a house that will be under water by the end of this century.
I think we can all understand the impulse to protect the value of your property in any way you can think of, but it’s still fraud. And, since the president can’t simply prosecute every example of fraudulent political speech, his only option is to make fun of it.
Property owners in the Outer Banks should be clamoring to talk to the president about what they can do to save their property so that their grandchildren might be able to enjoy it, but they’re more interested in preventing the state of North Carolina from officially recognizing the threat. That’s short-sighted and wrong. And that’s where the whole GOP is headed on this issue.
They have earned their mockery.
Some day, maybe soon, maybe less soon, at least some of those same landowners (and/or their heirs and successors) will come asking, possibly hat-in-hand, for help offsetting the loss of their by-then-literally-underwater properties. We will all bear some responsibility for that, but not the vast majority of it. The bulk of the responsibility will remain on the people who, today, are legitimate objects of mockery for their reality-denying ways.
This isn’t mockery done for any sort of fun, mind you, because the cost is too high. It’s the sort of mockery that is the only available response to those who are being foolish.
Listen, I’d be all for [a state religion] if it was Frisbeetarianism (you believe that when you die, your soul gets caught in a gust of wind and lands on the roof and you can’t get it down without a step ladder. There’s also Killer Frisbeetarianism, but that’s practiced mostly by college kids).
Oh, right, you eat the flesh of your 2000 year old dead prophet and symbolically drink his blood, but Frisbeetarianism is silly. Got it.
Photo credit: Via nosuchthingaswas.com.
I know many people from the state of North Carolina, and I know them all to be kind, decent, caring, generous people. I’m not sure how many of them still live there, if any, but I’m sorry if they have to live among that kind of bigotry. Of course, it’s not like Texas is much better.
A representative of the principle supporter of the amendment had this to say:
Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman of Votes for Marriage NC, the main group behind the amendment, said: “We are not anti-gay, we are pro-marriage. The whole point is you don’t rewrite the nature of God’s design for marriage based on the demands of a group of adults.”
Apparently, however, she does get to marginalize an entire group of people who have done her no wrong, based on the demands of her group of adults (emphasis added because I’m furious). Not only that, but this amendment may have much a much farther-reaching impact than people seem to realize. It could affect more than just those icky gay people (that’s how I imagine Tami Fitzgerald phrasing it, anyway). I have no words for the supporters of this amendment that don’t include “rectums” and “rusty pitchforks,” so I shall turn to the words of friends and people whom I admire. Continue reading