Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thursday afternoon tab dump 

I'm back in New Jersey for the next couple of weeks, which ought to mean that blogging will improve. Or at least increase in quantity. This afternoon, though, we offer only a humble, but eclectic, tab dump.

We live in parlous times: Goldman Sachs bankers are applying for handgun permits in record numbers, apparently to deter, or defend themselves against, populist crazies. My question: If anybody does take a shot at an investment banker, who will the press blame? What if the banker kills somebody in self defense?

If somebody does shoot an investment banker, will it be because they spent too much time staring at this?

I hope you were not planning to die next year for the tax benefits. The House just voted to repeal the one-year suspension of the "death tax" built in to the Bush tax cuts. The somewhat better news is that the legislation includes permanent "reform," a death tax that is still much too high, but with a $3.5 million exemption.

Speaking of taxes, the IRS limit for the mileage expense will fall to $0.50/mile next year.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is pressing its case for NASA to release the internal emails among its climate scientists. Apparently the U.S. government has rolled out its own "four corners" FOIA delay. This bit is almost hilarious:

Mark Hess, public affairs director for the Goddard Space Flight Center which runs the GISS laboratory, said they are working on Mr. Horner's request, though he couldn't say why they have taken so long.

"We're collecting the information and will respond with all the responsive relevant information to all of his requests," Mr. Hess said. "It's just a process you have to go through where you have to collect data that's responsive."

He said he was unfamiliar with the British controversy and couldn't say whether NASA was susceptible to the same challenges to its data.

If the Goddard Center's public affairs officer is actually unfamiliar with the "British controversy" -- the polite term for ClimateGate -- he should be fired. Much more likely, he is spewing nonsense, formerly known as lying.

Meanwhile, politically active investors are pushing the Securities and Exchange Commission to require public companies to disclose climate change dangers in their "risk factors." This is, of course, a propaganda ploy. Given the time that must elapse before even alarmist predictions come true, it is hard to see how any climate change risk could be material to an investor today. Sure, there may be new regulatory or taxation risk if Barack Obama gets his way, but that is not, obviously, the same thing.

The American public and foreign policy experts agree: The United States is "less important" than it once was. This should not surprise us, since the president we elected has been traveling the world tirelessly making just that point in thought, word, and deed.

And, finally, a cool graphic showing the relative size of social networks.

More later.


By Blogger Dan Kauffman, at Thu Dec 03, 06:41:00 PM:

"to require public companies to disclose climate change dangers in their "risk factors.""

Since there are more fatalities due to Cold Weather Events than Hot Weather Events

I say do it and claim a net benefit LOL  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Thu Dec 03, 11:42:00 PM:

What if the banker kills somebody in self defense?

If its really self defense, then no criminal charges would be filed. The perp's family would of course bring civil suit for wrongful death, excessive force, etc, etc and said banker better be prepared to settle for a princely sum.

Still, paying is better than dying.  

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