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    Beer and mead brewing. Making sausages, fresh cheese, lox, limoncello, Scotch eggs, Atholl Brose.

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  1. laripu

    Liberal Economics

    Most people are neither able nor admirable. There are plenty of incompetent scumbags, tens of millions in this country. Able people, at the level of ability to do great things, are exceedingly rare. (No surprise: I'm not one of those.) They can to be encouraged to be better people. But legislation works better than encouragement. Able people, at the level of ability to do great things, who are also morally admirable, are the rarest. There are, maybe, two or three in a generation. (Based on approximate calculations using normal curves and probability.) Given the scarcity of such people, I note that the normal human condition is blundering semi-competence, together with morality such that people do whatever is easy and convenient, and then later repent. We do not expect a tiger to become "better" and espouse vegetarianism. Given what is normal and what is rare, I'm grateful for Bezos' level of ability that has allowed him to build such a valuable service (even with its faults). I do want to note a contradictory pair of views about Amazon pricing: if their pricing is so low that everyone uses them and all competitors go out of business, we might deem them an evil monopoly. Their prices are often worked out by imperfect AI algorithms. Some prices are illogically too high, so we caution that you ought to shop around: good advice in any case, but not evidence of moral turpitude.
  2. laripu

    Liberal Economics

    He should own it because he built it. If we don't like how he treats his employees, laws can change that, or, ideally, they should unionize. Anyone shopping should compare prices, and not rely on reputation. I don't buy food at Amazon, because I prefer fresh food. My local employee-owned grocery is just fine. They compete with a Walmart next door. What I like about Amazon is the huge collection of products they list, and I can compare among the products. A few years ago I bought a tiny electronic scale, accurate to 2 hundredths of a gram, perfect for weighing hops. Made in China, $10. I've had it for about 5 years, still love it. I also bought (for $15), a thermometer with an 18 inch probe, perfect for measuring temperature in a 23 liter, glass carboy full of not yet fermented beer wort. And when a CD I want is $5.95 and delivered to my for 2 days later, that's just peachy. Amazon performs a service that many people like. The worth of the company in the stock market is proof of that.
  3. laripu

    Liberal Economics

    If Bezos, like Warren Buffet, were the kind of person who lived for "worldwide mansions, private jets, luxury yachts" he wouldn't have been the kind of person to build a company like Amazon. It's a terrible idea to tax his holdings in Amazon, because he doesn't have $144.7 billion. He has ownership of a company. Take away most of that that net worth, i.e. that ownership, and he no longer owns the company he built. He also doesn't have that money unless he sells. The company is only worth that amount of money because of how good a service it provides. Bezos has done a fantastic thing for America and the world by building that company. The evidence is precisely the estimated worth of that company. He shouldn't be penalized for that. On the other hand, I'm all for a marginal tax of 90 % on the top 0.1% of incomes, and progressive up to there.
  4. laripu

    What it's all about

    Trump may be Putin's best employee. America's influence in the world will greatly diminish as we trash human rights by caging children who have been brought here.... and then abandon the UN Human rights council. America's economy will be wrecked with retaliation from foreign countries due to his ill-advised trade wars; among them the insane $200 billion new tariffs he plans to impose on China.
  5. What usually bails us out of that problem is immigration. Eventually, Republicans that are heavily invested in the stock market already realize that. They just don't yet know how to unseat the populist Trumpolini catering to poorly educated racists. Mueller will give then an option. Excellent question. Right now, we've got Trumpolini, a littler hitler. Let's hope the leader we need emerges. Yep, I agree. (Referring to Peter's post.)
  6. laripu

    Thanks for having me!

    Hi Julie. ☺️
  7. laripu

    What it's all about

    It's an interesting progressive site, but not perfect, as no news source is perfect. A good supplement, though. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthout#Controversies My current favorite for smart analysis is Rachel Maddow. For sheer argumentative feistyness, I like Chris Cuomo at the same time on CNN. Of course, Hannity is good -- for me to poop on! πŸ•πŸ’©πŸ˜œ
  8. laripu

    What it's all about

    I wonder what we'll hear from Cohen when he spills his guts to Mueller's team. They've reconstituted documents he shredded, decrypted encrypted messages, and deemed non-privileged communication that Cohen claimed was covered by attorney-client privilege. I'll bet Cohen's wife is telling him something like "don't be a chump, dump Trump" - but probably less rhymey.
  9. Some other options. Adam Schiff has had a lot of exposure on CNN lately. That makes me think he's running. He speaks well. He's 57. He introduced a constitutional amendment on campaign finance reform to counter the horrible SCOTUS decision. He seems to be scandal free (you never know, but it looks that way). He's been re-elected 8 times, so at least he's electable. Of the ones listed here, he seems the most presidential... but what does that even mean anymore, after Trumpolini. Kirsten Gillibrand has been mentioned as a possible candidate but I think she's too conservative. She's 51. She has been a conservative Democrat but seems to be moving to the left - I'm not sure whether that's real. She co-authored a bill to limit insider trading. Amy Klobuchar, 58. The NRA hates her. . I don't like that she voted to repeal the medical device tax. It looks like she's too involved with Medtronic and their lobbying. She's pro-choice, pro-Social Security, pro-Medicare. So that's ok. I'm looking for a viable candidate that would support single payer universal healthcare for all US citizens and permanent residents. Gavin Newsom is 50, Lieutenant Governor of California, progressive, and an advocate of legalized pot and universal healthcare. Here's a negative: he was married to Fox News journalist Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is presently dating Donald Trump Jr. 🀒 He's running for governor of California, so he may not be available for a run at the presidency in 2020. Tom Steyer? At least he's putting his money where his mouth is. He's even donating money to legal aid groups fighting deportation cases.
  10. Agreed, in that I couldn't support them for the nomination. But if either were the nominee, and running against a typical Republican or an atypical Trumpubliscam ... I'd vote for any old Democrat over them. Just like I wanted Bernie supporters to vote for Hillary, I'd vote for any almost Democrat over almost any Republican. (Exceptions: James Traficant, William Jefferson, Rod Blagojevich.)
  11. The burden on the T-mafia is growing and will continue to grow until one last tiny thing pushes the entire mess down into the abyss. The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, they say: But that metaphor is ancient and deserves updating. It's an edifice of falseness, lies that will be scattered by the breath of judges and the whisperings of common people.
  12. New York attorney general sues Trump Foundation, CNN reports: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/14/politics/new-york-lawsuit-trump-foundation/index.html The edifice of falseness falls.
  13. The last paragraph of the essay: And related to that, a Leonard Cohen quote:
  14. laripu

    Jewish holiday, Purim

    Different holiday. The "party in a hut" thing is called "Sukkot", and the edifice is a sukkah. Usually made with leaves or branches, not waterproof and always outdoors. My parents made one on the balcony a few times, but being in Montreal it was always too cold to eat there. So they gave up. I think the lemon and sugar cane (or similar) are used in some waving ritual but I don't know what it is. My parents didn't do it. This is the kind of thing I remember from when I was a kid, but with more downed branches, from maple trees. But I think modern ones are more involved.