Daily Bread for 12.16.16 – 2017

Good morning.

Here is our small city we’ll have cold temperatures after afternoon snowfall: Friday’s daytime high will be nineteen, with a significant snowfall beginning in the afternoon and stretching into Saturday.  Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:22 PM, for 9h 02m 13s of daytime.  The moon’s a waning gibbous with 91.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1773, the Boston Tea Party takes place as colonists protest British taxation.   On this day in 1944, the Battle of the Bulge begins as Germany launches her last major offensive of the Second World War through the Ardennes; the Allies repulsed the offensive within about a month.

Worth reading in full — 

Steven Mufson and Max Ehrenfreund report that Trump considers financial pundit Larry Kudlow for Council of Economic Advisors: “If selected, Kudlow would mark another un­or­tho­dox pick for Trump. Under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the council has provided expert economic advice to the president and attracts a staff of top-flight young economists. But Kudlow lacks a graduate or undergraduate degree in economics and has not written scholarly papers on the subject….In recent years, he has become a popular figure on television, but his record as an economic forecaster is full of potholes. Less than nine months before the economic crisis hit in 2008, Kudlow wrote in the National Review that “There’s no recession coming. The pessimistas were wrong. It’s not going to happen. At a bare minimum, we are looking at Goldilocks 2.0. (And that’s a minimum). Goldilocks is alive and well. The Bush boom is alive and well… Yes, it’s still the greatest story never told.”

Elena Holodny reports on a study showing that Juvenile incarceration is way more expensive than tuition at a private university: “The annual cost of youth incarceration for a single individual is $112,555, according to the annual report of the Council of Economic Advisers. That’s about 3.5 times the average tuition and fees at a four-year, non-profit private university ($32,405), and almost five times the average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public university for an out-of-state student ($23,893), according to the report’s data. The cost of incarceration is also more than 11.5 times the average for a year of Head Start ($9,770), and about nine times the cost of an average year of public school ($12,508).”

Evan Osnos, writing of Xu Hongci’s experiences as a dissident in China, asks a difficult question: “What is the precise moment, in the life of a country, when tyranny takes hold? It rarely happens in an instant; it arrives like twilight, and, at first, the eyes adjust.”

Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns see Democrats at Crossroads: Win Back Working-Class Whites, or Let Them Go?: “For Democrats, the election last month has become a Rorschach test. Some see Mrs. Clinton’s loss as a result of an unfortunate series of flukes — Russian tampering, a late intervention by the Federal Bureau of Investigation director and a poor allocation of resources — but little more than a speed bump on the road to a demographic majority. Others believe the results reflect a more worrisome trend that could doom the party. It’s is a sensitive topic, touching on race and class, but the choices that Democrats make in the coming months will shape their post-Obama identity and carry major implications in both the 2018 midterm elections and the next presidential race.”

Bob Bryan reports that A professor has calculated how much blowing up the Death Star in ‘Star Wars’ would set back gross galactic product: “In this paper we study the financial repercussions of the destruction of two fully armed and operational moon-sized battle stations (“Death Stars”) in a 4-year period and the dissolution of the galactic government in Star Wars,” began the abstract of the study. “The emphasis of this work is to calibrate and simulate a model of the banking and financial systems within the galaxy. Along these lines, we measure the level of systemic risk that may have been generated by the death of Emperor Palpatine and the destruction of the second Death Star.” With full on footnotes and in-text citations to “Lucas” and “Kershner” (the screenwriters of Star Wars, George and Irvin respectively), Feinstein found that the destruction of the Death Stars and collapse of the Galactic Empire would throw the galactic economy into chaos. “In this case study we found that the Rebel Alliance would need to prepare a bailout of at least 15%, and likely at least 20%, of [Gross Galactic Product] in order to mitigate the systemic risks and the sudden and catastrophic economic collapse,” said the study. “Without such funds at the ready, it likely the Galactic economy would enter an economic depression of astronomical proportions.”

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