Friday, May 13, 2016

5 Things on a Friday: No More Politics

I finally realized over the weekend that if I keep doing politics every week, I’m not only going to drive away my readers, I’m actually going to drive myself crazy.  So no politics this week, and from here on out, I’m going to try to keep it to a dull roar.  Yes, that is a potentially significant challenge.  However, all that crap is not only pointless, it’s also tearing this country apart.  
I’m done with it.

Puerto Rico is now supposed to pay an unfathomable $2 billion to bondholders on July 1 — which it cannot do — even as it accrues pension obligations to its workers and lets public works lapse. A relief bill is expected to be introduced in Congress on Wednesday, but even if it passes and works, the island will not be able to pull out of its financial tailspin for years…
The blame lies with what economists call “deferred costs.” Generous pension promises made decades ago, without enough funding, are now coming due as baby boomers retire. Bonds issued in the distant past to build bridges, highways and other projects also must be paid — even as the projects themselves could by now use expensive makeovers.
An American and Puerto Rican flag.
For decades, financial planners have pushed this idea that major investment funds are going to return an average of seven or even eight percent annually, and that’s how a lot of these funding mechanisms were designed--with overly optimistic assumptions.  Detroit and now Puerto Rico are proving the point that relying on unrealistic assumptions is, well, unrealistic.  According to the article, a lot of other municipalities are in similar situations.
This feels like a financial time bomb.  Cities and even some states are going to declare bankruptcy and get their crap together in time, but bond holders are liable to take a serious loss, and pension holders are screwed outright.
It’s hard to believe that new-style 401K-type retirement plans now look more attractive than old-school pension programs, but that’s where we are.  At the end of the day, you really only own the money you have in an account under your own name.
A new set of female emojis—including farmers, chefs and scientists—has been proposed by a group of Google employees in an effort to promote workplace gender equality.
The 13 new designs were presented to the Unicode Consortium on Tuesday with the hope they will be approved by the end of the year.
The decision on whether any or all of the emojis will be implemented will be taken by the Unicode Consortium, which counts Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook among its voting members.
Unicode publicity shot, taken from the article.
This feels like a publicity stunt, sure, but it'll probably excite my daughters, and that's good enough for me.
Lady Susan is hardly the first Jane Austen character that Kate Beckinsale has played, but she’s by far the most delectable…
In the story, snapped up at the festival by Amazon Studios (and in theaters Friday), the beautiful, widowed Lady Susan artfully ties English society into knots over her affair with a handsome, married lord and attempts to right her perilous finances by scheming to marry off her teenage daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark).

Love and Friendship is based on my favorite Jane Austen novel by far, Lady Susan.  It’s a quick read, and it is incredibly, head-shakingly naughty.  Funny, too, if you can handle Austen's super-dry teenaged wit.  She wrote the story when she was quite young but stuck it in a drawer.  It was--thankfully--published posthumously by her greedy heirs.
Regardless, the movie currently sits at 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.  I’ve no idea when Sally and I will get around to seeing it, but it looks terrific.

4. Voltron: Legendary Defender

I didn’t love the first half of this trailer, but they won me over by the end.  We’ll see how they do with the actual show.
Think you love Star Wars? Think again. Sure, you may be interested in fan theories surrounding Rey’s parents, but you probably didn’t get frustrated that the opening crawl’s font in The Force Awakens was different to the one used in the other films.  

If it took you six months to figure out that the font was different, I’m gonna go ahead and say that you weren’t actually that pissed off.

See?  This is why people hate the Internet.
That’s all I’ve got, folks.  Have a good weekend.

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