So yesterday another Columbus Day came and went and not without its usual controversy. Whereas Christopher Columbus used to be regarded as a heroic explorer, he has come to be known more and more as a genocidal madman. Protests erupted in multiple cities and many want the day replaced with Indigenous People's Day.
Howard Zinn, a highly questionable, Marxist historian, seems to in large part responsible for this about face.
I went through this evolution myself. My earliest memory of hearing about him in elementary school was as an explorer who treated the Native Americans well. Then early in High School I believe, I was told about how he was basically the personification of pure evil. The truth, it would seem, is somewhere in the middle.
The Spanish certainly were brutal, but Columbus wasn't especially so. And it's not like the Native Americans were peaceniks. The Aztecs, for example, sacrificed some 20,000 people a year! The worst governors of Hispaniola (the first Spanish outpost) came after Columbus. And at least some of the atrocities were exaggerated in the Black Legend which was pushed be Protestants to delegitimatize Catholic countries.
The Youtuber Knowing Better has a pretty good video sort of defending the 15th century explorer and conqueror called "In Defense of Columbus: An Exaggerated Evil." It's worth checking out to get a more balanced view of the man.
Facebook and other tech companies have come under increasing and well-merited criticism for their rampant invasion of privacy, censorship and riding the line between publisher and platform. Indeed, these tech companies are offered protections against lawsuits for libel and slander because they are considered to be "platforms" under Section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act.
Now Facebook, while fending off a lawsuit from conservative provocateur Laura Loomer, admits its not a platform but instead a publisher,
Facebook has invoked its free speech right as a publisher, insisting its ability to smear users as extremists is protected, but its legal immunity thus far has rested on a law which protects platforms, not publishers. Which is it?
Say what you will about Laura Loomer's ridiculous antics (particularly those involving tires), but this explanation is very telling indeed. If you are going to defend yourself as a publisher, then you should be legally liable for everything posted on your site. Let the wave of infinity lawsuits begin!
Late last year, Tim Cook also admitted Apple was in fact a publisher and not a platform as well. The time to act is now (in fact, it was some time ago). These tech companies are far too powerful. They can swing elections, manipulate the masses and pretty much do as they please. No more talk and no more listening to their empty promises. As an ardent capitalist I really hate to say this, but these companies need to be regulated.
Well the first ever (or more accurately, first in like seven years) BiggerPockets conference has come and gone. It was a lot of fun and had a lot of good information. And unlike the majority of real estate conferences you will come across, it had no sales pitches. (Unless, you count pitching a $20 book, or a free book that the final keynote speaker, David Osborn, the founder of Gobundance, was giving away as long as you paid the rapacious $7 for shipping and handling.)
The conference was held at the absurd, never-ending hotel with a glass ceiling and jungle setting known as The Gaylord. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, there are several of these things in the United States.
The conference itself was packed! 1200 people total. Yet, the facility was so large it never felt overly-crowded.
The speakers were very good, particularly Brandon Turner's opening address and David Osborne's closing one. But the highlight was Josh Dorkin, the founder of BiggerPocket's, presentation on the recovery of his daughter from a terrifying ailment and how this experience has given him a new perspective on life. (You can hear about this more on this podcast with him.) Thankfully, his daughter has fully recovered.
Of course, the best part with these conferences is the networking and there was plenty of it here. Some real estate seminars are mostly full of newbies and wannabies as well as the salesmen trying to sell them those $3000 three-ring binders. But all of BiggerPockets presenters are successful investors and I met a wide range of others; from newbies to those who had done a few deals to a guy with 350 rentals in Iowa and another 50 in Kansas to a partnership who bought hotels throughout the country.
Overall, it was a great conference and I would highly recommend those interested in real estate investment to attend the 2020 conference.
Well, here's quite the headline from NBC: "Vapers seek relief from nicotine in - wait for it - cigarettes." As one person the article quotes puts it,
“Juul [an electronic cigarette maker] made my nicotine addiction a lot worse,... When I didn’t have it for more than two hours, I’d get very anxious.”
Yeah, it turns out that vaping nicotine is as addictive as smoking it. Who knew?
And it turns out, it's also really, really bad for you. According to the CDC,
My latest (and very well trafficked) article for BiggerPockets picks apart Bernie Sanders' hair brained idea to tax the profits of home flippers by 25 percent (in addition the income tax they will already be paying). It's nuts, and I go into detail as to why it's nuts in the piece, concluding that,
Taxing home flippers 25 percent before they even pay a penny of income or capital gains taxes doesn’t make any economic sense. It’s unfair, removes many sellers’ options, will hurt many small businesses and likely lead to layoffs, will increase urban blight, and will decrease the availability of housing, leading to higher prices and rents.
Check it out and do what you can to make sure this stupid law never gets put into effect.
The yield curve "inverts" when the return on short-term bonds surpasses that of long-term bonds. Most notably, the 2-Year bond surpasses the return on 10-Year bonds. My latest article on BiggerPockets delves into this topic and what it means for real estate investors. Although, I think the contents is very important for any sort of investor, businessman or person who wants to be prepared for an economic downturn.
As I note in the piece,
The spread on the 2Y-10Y is slightly positive (0.06 percent) as of this writing, but it briefly dipped negative in August. A 2Y-10Y inversion has preceded every single one of the last nine recessions—although by as much as 34 months. For the 2007-2008 Great Recession, the yield curve inverted 22 months prior to the bottom falling out.
I also go into a bunch of other economic data showing that we are likely heading for a downturn. So, in my opinion, the odds of a recession in the next 12 to 18 months is considerable. Nothing (and I mean nothing!) in economic predictions are a sure thing, but it would be wise to prepare for the worst.
And how should you do that as a real estate investor? Here are the five tips I give:
1) Don't Make Radical Changes or Simply Wait on the Sidelines
2) Hold More Cash
3) Shy Away from D Properties
4) Tighten Your Buying Criteria
5) Be More Cautious about Development
I go into much more detail in the article (it's about 2500 words) so check it out and be prepared!
Remember, if you ever question a so-called "scientific consensus" then you are a science denier. Presumably this should include politically incorrect scientific consensuses such as that men and women are different, but such consensuses rarely gets brought up for some inexplicable reason.
Regardless, in completely unrelated news...
In the 1960s, the sugar industry funded research that downplayed the risks of sugar and highlighted the hazards of fat, according to a newly published article in JAMA Internal Medicine.
My positive experience with the Paleo diet (and science!) certainly makes me believe this. And this from NPR, which is like the most mainstream of all mainstream sources.
But the drumbeat of muh science denier is quite tiring. Regardless of whether this is with regards to global warming, GMO or whatever. It simplifies the issue to a black and white affair and leaves no room for nuanced positions like Bjorn Lomborg (whom I mostly agree with).
It also ignores that science can be misused, financially or politically influenced (like say with the Sacklers and Lysenkoism respectively) and also, that science relies on heterodox positions to push it forward. We are in the middle of major replication crises in psychology and pharmacology. Yes, there are those who stupidly deny basic scientific principles or scientific consensuses on flimsy grounds. That by no means implies we should just accept the current consensus on various topics without further scrutiny.
Oh, and stay away from sugar as much as possible. It's really bad from you.
Remember when using words was legal? At least in New York?
New York City's Commission on Human Rights announced on Thursday that residents could face up to $250,000 in fines if they use terms such as 'illegal alien ... with intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person.'
I'm not a fan of the term "illegal alien." It sounds like you're talking about a Martian, so I prefer "illegal immigrant." All the same, it is a legal term and you should be allowed to say it. As far as "harassment" and "intent to demean," well these are notoriously slippery words that have been ruthlessly abused by the Left in recent years.
Regardless, are they going to make it illegal to insult someone? Well I guess if it has to do with do with immigration status, then the answer is yes in New York. Just like it is with gender identity in New York as well,
Calling a person “she” instead of 'ze' could be grounds for a $250,000 fine in New York City under new civil rights guidelines published just before Christmas which ban the 'misgendering' of individuals.
Remember when the Left was trumpeting the Berkeley Free Speech Movement... Yeah, those were the days...
My latest article for BiggerPockets is up. In it I discuss all of the ways you should NOT and the ways you should try to build rapport with motivated before making your offer to buy their property.
The Not-To-Do List is:
As for the To-Do List:
For all the specifics of those recommendations, check the article out!
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
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