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Peter van der Linden
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Peter van der Linden

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Went to see "Book of Mormon" at the weekend.  It's a touring musical company, whizzing around the West.  After just 14 nights in San Jose, they buzz 50 miles up the freeway for a lightning engagement in San Francisco.

First, I think it's classy that the mormon church bought some ads in the program.  Second, they ripped apart the eccentric dogma of the mormons, and ridiculed many of their more ludicrous practices (magic underwear? Come on).
However, it's very old and weary to emphasize it with heavy swear words.  It just doesn't have shock value any more, and so it makes a scene flatter, not more authentic.   There are a few good laughs in the show.  But honestly, there is a much better, more authentic, show in there somewhere.
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Peter van der Linden

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Had the neighbors over for BBQ at the weekend.   Tried to make them take some purslane home with them, but they're having none of it.
Got a double helping of the dreaded weed in the weekly community ag. basket.  Then word got out (wrongly) that I love the stuff (I don't).  People were dropping it off at my door at night.  Enough!
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Hmmm, next BBQ try giving some money away, you never know :).
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I was trying to remember where I took this picture about 6 months ago.   From the sky, the terrain, and the palms, I want to say it's up in the high desert, around Barstow somewhere.   But I know that's not it.
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I often turn the camera GPS off to make the battery last longer.  But I remembered where I took this picture.  It's not Barstow.   It's not the high desert at all.  The terrain is deceptive - it's actually a construction site with sand all over it.   This is shot from a car moving north on highway 101 in Redwood City.  You can see the silos of the Port of Redwood City in the background, to the right of the sign.   Dunno what's going on with the palm trees.  It's the old racetrack where you could rent time on go-karts.
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Two adjacent stories from the Surrey newspaper.

You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to wonder if the lost man in the first story could be the body found in the second story...

That "links to the Morden area" could be tricky.  That's like living in the "dodgy end of Wandsworth".
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There's quite a meme circulating that the Greeks "deserve austerity" (i.e. deserve to be punished) because "the Greeks don't pay their taxes" and "the Greeks retire on a full pension at 50".   Both of those statements are untrue, but someone, like this IMF executive, is putting the stories about.  BTW, this scold doesn't pay taxes herself.
Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund managing director who provoked an angry reaction from the Greek people after telling them to pay their taxes, does not pay tax on her own salary, it has emerged.
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Yes, that's exactly my reading too, +Beorn Borg.  So although I wasn't quoting Pikkety above, I was actually representing his ideas accurately.   
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A story about the Englishman who was "the father of baseball".
Plausibly, he was originally a cricket nut, but switched to baseball in the belief it was faster.
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My car service place has started sending me junk mail.  They don't quite have it down perfectly yet.  This graphic is from the teaser.  The heading leads you to expect definitive advice about how often to change the oil in your car.  Surprise!  They "recommend following the manufacturer's service interval".  I wonder if they have any other "insider tips".
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+Nick Alcock A likely story. You just forgot the wheels! I hope you remembered to change the eels and check if they are level.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1wr4woyWvk
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Peter van der Linden

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This "cigarette packet" building on Park Blvd, downtown San Jose, just screams "1960's".  Even the colors in the sign are plastic pastels.
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I noticed this avocado tree on my walk this evening.  It has extensive surface roots for some reason.
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Surface rooting on avocado tree's is normal as they like to get air/oxygen as well, hence more shallow rooting and as you can see, surface rooting.
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Hapless bomber pilot drops his bomb on Baghdad, killing 8 people including kids.    Training was not enough to instill the concept "don't bomb your own side", apparently.
The bomb hit houses in eastern Baghdad. At least eight people have been killed after a "technical problem" caused a bomb to fall from an Iraqi military plane over Baghdad. The Iraqi air force say the Russian-made Sukhoi jet was returning from a bombing raid against Islamic State (IS) militants.
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. . . that damn neighbor's dog kept him away one night too many.
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Irresponsible or unavoidable borrowing?

Growing up in Europe, I didn't pay much attention to the construction of the Euro, and whatever little I remember has nothing to do with the economics of it. Now, older, having lived in the US for a while, with a Greek wife, I'm looking at the way the Euro is unraveling and I've been using the opportunity to try to figure out how it works (or, rather, why it doesn't).

The core mechanism that allows multiple states to share the same currency is pretty simple: since the weaker states can't devalue their currency to compensate for their trade deficit with the stronger ones, money has to flow from the stronger economies to the weaker ones in order to maintain the balance.

We see that in the US: as measured in GDP per capita, there's about a 2:1 ratio between the strongest states and the weakest ones. To compensate for that, a lot of money flows between states, through the federal government. Most taxes in the US are federal taxes, i.e. about 75%, and the federal government doesn't necessarily spend the money it collects in the exact states where it collects them. As an example, about 130 billion dollars paid by California in federal taxes don't make it back into California. Texas and New York are the two other states that have a negative balance of more than 100 billion each. For those 3 states, that outflow on money represents 5.7%, 7.2% and 7.4% of their respective GDPs. California is literally sending money to other states so that those states can buy California stuff. The same is true for Texas, New York, and about 20 of the 50 states that are sending money to the other 30.

Looking back in history, the Marshall Plan followed a somewhat similar logic: the US sent aid to Europe, to allow Europeans to buy US goods, which was both a stabilizing mechanism for European currencies that otherwise were in a devaluation spiral, and an outlet for the huge US industrial production. For reference, the Marshall Plan amounted to 120 billion dollars (in today's dollars) over 4 years, which is tiny compared to the amount of money that the federal government now redistributes across state lines.

We can compare that to the situation in the Eurozone/EU, where the GDP per capita varies by a factor of about 2.3:1. Germany's balance in the EU budget is negative by less than 9 billion Euros. France's and Italy's follow at approximately 6.5 billion and 6 billion. Germany's 9 billion Euros is tiny compared to California's 130 billion dollars, especially since Germany's GDP is 60% larger than that of California. Since the US and EU economies have approximately the same size, that's a reasonably apples-to-apples comparison. The biggest negative balance that a Eurozone country has with the EU is about 0.41% of its GDP. The biggest positive balance is 1.3%. Within the US, only 4 states out of 50 fall within that range.

That's the problem right there: Germany is not flowing enough money out to other Eurozone countries to compensate for its own very strong economy. That's true of other rich European countries as well, e.g. Netherlands, Austria, France.

From the Greek point of view, the only way to get that money to flow in order to maintain balance had been for the government to borrow. That wasn't irresponsible borrowing. That was mechanical, predictable. Greece's poor historical discipline around government finances only accelerated an unavoidable process, but it's not a root cause.

In fact, predictably, pushing Greece into austerity made things worse, much worse: with the root cause being Greece's relatively weak economy compared to the rest of the Eurozone, an austerity approach can only put Greece in a position where it needs even more money to flow in in order to maintain balance.

Even if we assume that all of Greece's debts get somehow forgiven with no further constraints and that Greece manages to run a balanced government budget, it would still be in an unsustainable position in the current Eurozone as its weaker economy would force additional money to flow in. Unless the Eurozone very significantly increases the amount of money that it redistributes across borders, Greece should get out of the Euro at the first opportunity, i.e. literally Monday morning, July 6.

Worse, with Greece out, it's only a matter of time for another weak country to find itself in the same position: that might be Portugal, Spain, Italy, or if Bulgaria, Romania or even Hungary join quickly enough that might go through that same death spiral quickly enough to see the Eurozone as a revolving door, with barely enough time to come in before being back out.

Once that first batch of weak countries is out, there'll always be more that'll be at the bottom of the scale and will find themselves in the same position. France is comfortably in the middle of the pack within Europe today, but attrition will eventually push it toward the bottom, and France having to leave the Euro is a true nightmare scenario for everyone.

In order for the Eurozone to survive, its rich members will need to send a lot more money to the poorer ones: the rich ones literally can't continue reaping benefits from a currency based on the European average without sharing those benefits with the poorer ones that bring that European average down. Otherwise, the Euro will consume country after country until it hits a country that is literally too big to fail.
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Currency unions like the Eurozone only work if the member states have similar inflation rates. The Eurozone may have to be divided into multiple zones.
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Peter van der Linden

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               I definitely support this!  Do you?

     read more here -> http://goo.gl/wKIEMT

#Bernie2016   #FeelTheBern   #mydailybernie  
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If we make it clear that we ALL want this (except for those folks who are vested in it not happening) perhaps they'll wake up and realize that they don't want another french revolution.
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