Assorted Links (6/6/2012)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading and videos that I have been viewing lately:

Hollande’s First Step Backward

“Lowering the retirement age (from age 62 to age 60) puts France closer to another downgrade, The Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial.”

Offering a Helping Hand on Retirement Saving

“A new website called FutureAdvisor provides investment novices free portfolio recommendations and lets you put questions directly to the CEO.”  This looks like a very useful resource for folks who are interested in figuring out how in the world to allocate assets in a tax deferred account such as a 401-K . This article notes that “FutureAdvisor says it uses a mathematical optimization algorithm to apply modern portfolio theory principles to each person’s portfolio.”

Top 400 Taxpayers Paid Almost As Much in Federal Income Taxes in 2009 as the Entire Bottom 50%

“We hear all the time that the “rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes” (123,000 Google search results for that phrase). Here’s an analysis using recent IRS data that suggests otherwise.”

Google Opts to Honor Meaningless Anniversary over D-Day Sacrifices

When I awoke this morning, one of the first things that came to mind was that 68 years ago today, the Normandy landings which initiated the Allied effort to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi occupation during World War II took place. I didn’t realize, until Google reminded me, that today ALSO apparently marks the 79th anniversary of the first opening of a drive-in theater. Why the latter is worth commemorating whereas the former apparently isn’t, baffles me…

Imagining a Romney Recovery

I look forward to reading the two books referenced in this article by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat: 1) “Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong” (see and 2) “A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity” (see…

Richard Epstein on the Constitution

“NYU law professor Richard Epstein defends the Constitution against a University of Texas law professor who called it “imbecilic.””

Why is ‘x’ the unknown?

“Why is ‘x’ the symbol for an unknown? In this short and funny talk, Terry Moore gives the surprising answer.”  I was fascinated to learn today from this short TED talk that ‘x’ is the unknown because you apparently can’t say “sh” in Spanish!

Big Banks Are Not the Future

“As leading financial firms face market and regulatory challenges, the likelihood of their managers responding deftly seems slim at best.”

Europe’s Green Energy Suicide

“If it’s cheap and plentiful—even low in carbon-dioxide emissions—much of the continent wants no part of it.”

A Victory for Self-Government

“The Wall Street Journal says that Wisconsin voters defeated a campaign of union revenge to recall Governor Scott Walker.”

California’s Labor Pains

“The Wall Street Journal’s Allysia Finley on ballot initiatives in San Jose and San Diego.”  Quoting from this article, “More than two-thirds of voters in San Jose and San Diego supported ballot measures scaling back pensions for government workers.”

Why Obama Strikes Out in Court

Reagan Normandy Speech: Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, D-Day 6/6/84

“President Reagan’s Address at the Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, D-day at Point-du-Hoc – 6/6/84.”

General Eisenhower’s Message – D-Day – June 6, 1944

“The U.S. Army remembers June 6, 1944: The World War II D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.”

Obama’s Debt Boom

“The Wall Street Journal on the most predictable crisis in history.”  Quoting from this article, “If we wait for the bond vigilantes to strike, as in Europe today, the recourse will be painful spending cuts and destructive tax increases virtually overnight. The longer we extend Mr. Obama’s legacy of slow growth and more debt, the greater the economic price to fix it.”

Clarke and Dawe – European Debt Crisis

Classic British comedy sketch about the European debt crisis featuring Clarke and Dawe. This video originally aired on 2 years ago, and the main difference between now and then is that the severity of the European debt crisis has gotten much worse, so whenever Roger the Financial Consultant cites a number, it’s probably safe to multiply said number by a factor greater than 1…

Tracking the trackers

“As you surf the Web, information is being collected about you. Web tracking is not 100% evil — personal data can make your browsing more efficient; cookies can help your favorite websites stay in business. But, says Gary Kovacs, it’s your right to know what data is being collected…”

Keeping the Spirit of Steve Jobs Alive

Longtime technology analyst Mary Meeker apparently noted at last week’s “All Things D” conference that technology advances could be undermined by the underperformance of what she calls “USA, Inc.” Quoting from this article, “The country has the biggest peacetime gap between revenues and expenses, with entitlement spending swamping everything else. “What gives me pause is that when we were born, 85% of households paid federal income taxes. Now only 49% do,” she pointed out. “Soon more people will receive government aid than pay taxes. That scares me a lot.”” Me too!…

California’s Casino Budgeting

Here’s the latest from Stanford economists Bosking and Cogan on the fiscal circumstances of the one state in the U.S. which most closely resembles Greece…

Equal Opportunity vs. Equal Outcome

Quoting from this article, “In the latest at the blog, Kurt Jaros explores the fifth chapter of “Free to Choose” by Milton Friedman: “Friedman has three categories for human equality: equality before God, equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. He thinks the first is the Founders’ use, the second is compatible with liberty, and the third is socialism.””

Jostens misspells ‘education’ on diplomas — for two years straight

It’s graduation time, when students… get their prized diplomas, proof of their hard work and “eduation”.