The areas America could abandon first because of climate change

❝ You could drive a shrimp boat 1,300 miles along the Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi to Fort Myers and not pass a single county or parish that voted against Donald Trump. The cities and towns along that shoreline had better hope he remembers their support: Without increasing levels of federal spending, climate change could push parts of them out of existence.

So far this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has spent $1.1 billion on what are called Individual Assistance payments, which help households recover from natural disasters. There are no limits on the number of times a household can apply, so the program isn’t just a safety net; for some people, it’s effectively a subsidy to live in areas that are especially vulnerable to hurricanes, floods and storm surges.

❝ That hasn’t gone unnoticed in Washington. In 1999, a Nebraska congressman introduced a bill preventing some properties with multiple claims from getting help — not just disaster relief, but also subsidized flood insurance. Two years later, the George W. Bush administration’s first budget proposed denying aid to the “worst offending repetitive loss properties.” Under President Barack Obama, FEMA proposed reducing disaster aid for public buildings damaged more than once in the previous decade if local governments hadn’t done anything to protect them…

None of those proposals took effect. But as extreme weather gets worse, those federal subsidies will only become more expensive — increasing the need to rethink government support for those who choose to live in harm’s way…

That means it’s time to consider an impolitic question: If federal support gets rolled back, which areas will people have the greatest incentive to leave?

Nice in-depth article. Filled with facts and data required by decision-makers and folks making big and little business decisions. Where to locate. What markets will grow. Nothing a Trump Chump ever cares about.

Ready-to-eat chicken recalled for possible bacteria — another gift from America’s industrial food

❝ National Steak and Poultry is recalling nearly 2 million pounds of ready-to-eat chicken products because they may have been undercooked, resulting in possible bacterial contamination, the USDA said.

The recall includes a variety of ready-to-eat chicken products that were produced on various dates from August 20, 2016 through November 30, 2016…

❝ This is an expanded recall which began on Nov. 23. The original problem was discovered by a call from a food service customer, complaining that the products appeared to be undercooked…

What? You thought the producer might actually have decent quality assurance in place?

❝ The label says fully cooked, but it’s possible the meat was undercooked, which means it could be contaminated with bacteria.

“Get it out the door, slaves. We can’t make any money with our chicken sitting here in an industrial pressure cooker!”

America elected our own Berlusconi — Please don’t take decades to defeat Donald Trump!


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Five years ago, I warned about the risk of a Donald J. Trump presidency. Most people laughed. They thought it inconceivable.

I was not particularly prescient; I come from Italy, and I had already seen this movie, starring Silvio Berlusconi, who led the Italian government as prime minister for a total of nine years between 1994 and 2011. I knew how it could unfold.

Now that Mr. Trump has been elected president, the Berlusconi parallel could offer an important lesson in how to avoid transforming a razor-thin victory into a two-decade affair. If you think presidential term limits and Mr. Trump’s age could save the country from that fate, think again. His tenure could easily turn into a Trump dynasty.

Mr. Berlusconi was able to govern Italy for as long as he did mostly thanks to the incompetence of his opposition. It was so rabidly obsessed with his personality that any substantive political debate disappeared; it focused only on personal attacks, the effect of which was to increase Mr. Berlusconi’s popularity. His secret was an ability to set off a Pavlovian reaction among his leftist opponents, which engendered instantaneous sympathy in most moderate voters. Mr. Trump is no different.

We saw this dynamic during the presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton was so focused on explaining how bad Mr. Trump was that she too often didn’t promote her own ideas, to make the positive case for voting for her. The news media was so intent on ridiculing Mr. Trump’s behavior that it ended up providing him with free advertising.

Unfortunately, the dynamic has not ended with the election. Shortly after Mr. Trump gave his acceptance speech, protests sprang up all over America. What are these people protesting against? Whether we like it or not, Mr. Trump won legitimately. Denying that only feeds the perception that there are “legitimate” candidates and “illegitimate” ones, and a small elite decides which is which. If that’s true, elections are just a beauty contest among candidates blessed by the Guardian Council of clerics, just like in Iran…

These protests are also counterproductive. There will be plenty of reasons to complain during the Trump presidency, when really awful decisions are made. Why complain now, when no decision has been made? It delegitimizes the future protests and exposes the bias of the opposition…

The Italian experience provides a blueprint for how to defeat Mr. Trump. Only two men in Italy have won an electoral competition against Mr. Berlusconi: Romano Prodi and the current prime minister, Matteo Renzi (albeit only in a 2014 European election). Both of them treated Mr. Berlusconi as an ordinary opponent. They focused on the issues, not on his character. In different ways, both of them are seen as outsiders, not as members of what in Italy is defined as the political caste.

The Democratic Party should learn this lesson…an opposition focused on personality would crown Mr. Trump as the people’s leader of the fight against the Washington caste. It would also weaken the opposition voice on the issues, where it is important to conduct a battle of principles.

Luigi Zingales knows whereof he speaks not only about Italy; but, the GOUSA. From political economy to the economic effects of culture, his understanding is only exceeded by eloquence. Yup, one of my favorite economists even when I disagree.