And so it begins…

Under the parental oversight of public libraries bill, which has been proposed by Missouri Republican Ben Baker, panels of parents would be elected to evaluate whether books are appropriate for children. Public hearings would then be held by the boards to ask for suggestions of potentially inappropriate books, with public libraries that allow minors access to such titles to have their funding stripped. Librarians who refuse to comply could be fined and imprisoned for up to one year.

Titles including Sherman Alexie’s award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a young adult novel about the rape of a teenager, have all come under fire in Missouri over the last decade.

PEN America’s deputy director of free expression research and policy, James Tager, called Baker’s bill a “shockingly transparent attempt to legalise book banning in the state of Missouri”…

No one’s trying to keep parents from interacting with librarians, right now, over guiding children through the public library system. And that’s properly a two-way street.

When I was 8, I’d read everything of interest to me in the children’s section of our public library branch. When the head librarian questioned my request for an adult card, it took my mother interceding to get permission. No extra burden on her – since she’d started the reading habit in both me and my kid sister by walking us to the library and back every Saturday morning to pick out books for the week.

Best habit she ever gave me.

Manchester City coach has bent or broken £460,000 worth of cars since taking over the team in 2016

Illustrating the financial might of the Premier League, it’s unusual to see a player rock up to work in anything other than a Lamborghini, Bentley, Mercedes or the like.

Managers also pocket an eye-watering wage of their own, the largest of which is the staggering £385,000 taken home by Pep Guardiola each and every week…

In their book Pep’s City: The Making Of A Superteam, Lu Martin and Pol Ballus write: “Today he’s behind the wheel of his black Mercedes…”He has a reputation from his Barcelona days of being a hapless driver and this is his fourth car he has owned since coming to Manchester…“His wing mirrors don’t survive for long and he’s also managed to fill a diesel Range Rover with petrol and mangle a silver Bentley.”

To be fair, the United Kingdom is the first country in which Guardiola has played or managed that drives on the left side of the road…It would take some time to adjust, but surely four years is long enough…But really, there’s no excuse for filling up a £150,000 Range Rover with the wrong type of fuel.

Say, Amen!

At least Boeing landed the Starliner OK

” Boeing Co’s Starliner astronaut spacecraft landed in the New Mexico desert on Sunday, the company said, after faulty software forced officials to cut short an unmanned mission aimed at taking it to the International Space Station.

The landing at 7:58 a.m. ET (1258 GMT) in the White Sands desert capped a turbulent 48 hours for Boeing’s botched milestone test of an astronaut capsule that is designed to help NASA regain its human spaceflight capabilities.

” “We hit the bull’s-eye,” a Boeing spokesman said on a livestream of the landing…

” The Starliner capsule was successfully launched from Florida on Friday, but an automated timer error prevented it from attaining the right orbit to meet and dock with the space station. That failure came as Boeing sought an engineering and public relations victory in a year that has seen corporate crisis over the grounding of its 737 MAX jetliner following two fatal crashes of the aircraft.

I watched live coverage of the portion of this adventure that was intended to include docking with the space station. Initial response by commentators may have oversimplified the “error” that made the linkup impossible. Essentially, someone gave the Starliner the wrong time zone for rendezvous with the ISS. Not the first time for an error like this. Might not be the last, either.

These cotton t-shirts cost up to $5.5 million. They do come with a bonus.

” For its first residential development, the Italian clothing giant Diesel has come up with a marketing strategy that stays true to its fashionista roots.

” The company has unveiled a new series of 143 T-shirts priced from $370,000 to $5.5 million dollars. The shirts are made out of ordinary white cotton, not molten gold, and are not adorned with diamonds or jewels of any kind.

Instead, each T-shirt bears the floor plan of a unit at the Diesel Wynwood Condominium…Buy the T-shirt, get the corresponding condo.

Wonder how long the line was when they started selling these, last week?

Worthless Holiday Hype Never Ends


Garbage In = Garbage Out

” Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Retail sales were not up 16% during the holiday weekend. Nor were they up 14% on Nov. 29, Black Friday.

” That we even have to state this tells us a lot about how easy it is to fool people into believing things that are not true. It is also revealing about the state of economics reporting, the effectiveness of fake news and the sheer gullibility of too many journalists…

For at least the past 15 years, the National Retail Federation has been misleading America with a series of reports on holiday shopping. Your humble Grinch takes it upon himself to point out this annual exercise in erroneous claims…

What’s wrong with those numbers? They are based on sentiment surveys, not real spending…Because the advance monthly retail report for November won’t be released until Dec. 13, we have no idea yet how much shoppers spent during the latest holiday weekend. Since the NRF is likely to issue more Panglossian reports between now and the end of the month, keep in mind that the December retail sales data won’t come out until Jan 16.

” But this too is simply a guess. Asking people how much they spent last year (who can remember?) and how much they intend to spend this year (who really knows in advance?) gives you very little insight into their actual spending. Indeed, based on the track record of this methodology, the odds greatly favor this forecast being wrong.

RTFA. Barry Ritholtz earns a living providing accurate information and advice to investors. Retail sales are just one area of his expertise. But, crappola from business associations offered up as accurate when they are nothing more than foofaraw preamble for a sales pitch ain’t worth the electrons printing them on the screen of your computing device. Big or small, the hustle remains nothing more than a pitch for your wallet.