Cliched Title involving Tigers

I picked up OS X 10.4 yesterday – MicroCenter have a $50 rebate, and I had a $25 voucher to use there, so it seemed to be a matter of destiny. The install went fine, and now I’m just starting to settle in. All good so far.

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Minnesota in the news

I’m so proud:

The prison population is swelling fastest in the state of Minnesota – up 13.2% over 12 months.

Now this could be good insofar as it’s locking up people who need to be locked up. But overall it’s hard to think of a way this is really a good thing.

It was interesting to see that the US locks people up more than 5 times as often as the UK, itself no slouch in the incarceration stakes.

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I do not validate barking

Browsing the Internets, I came across this piece from a pro-whatever-the-President-says group

If the opposition to personal accounts is not simply partisan (and that indeed may be the case), then there are only two explanations for the arguments being advanced by certain Democratic leaders in Congress. One, they believe that Americans are simply not smart enough to be given the option to select from among a handful investments choices. (Note the word “option,” since the accounts are voluntary). Two, those making the argument believe they can gain political advantage by scaring future retirees into thinking it’s more likely they would be cast adrift in the sea without a compass, rather than, in reality, earning enough money to buy their own boat.

Or three, the happy Democratic politician/investors mentioned in the preceding paragraphs understand that the acceptance of risk is a function of security; they can all afford to put lots of money in stocks because a) they have lots of money, and b) because Social Security will be there for them if their investments go south. That’s what the ‘Security’ in ‘Social Security’ means.

Under President Bush’s Social Security reform plan, the management and investment options of personal accounts would be strikingly similar to those of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

A pretty bold statement; the President has repeatedly said that he doesn’t have a plan, and that he wants open discussion with all (well, most) options on the table. So insofar as the President doesn’t have a plan, the plan that he doesn’t have is strikingly simlar to the TSP.

the TSP’s most conservative fund, the bond index fund, has produced a 4.58 percent real annual rate of return, more than double the paltry 1 to 2 percent rate of return under Social Security.

I always wonder if that rate of return covers all the other benefits that you get from Social Security, but can’t find info either way. Nonetheless, a guaranteed return of 1 to 2 percent over inflation, plus a guaranteed, inflation-protected, lasts-as-long-as-you-do annuity at the end of it, is pretty good. Especially when it can serve as the core of your investment strategy, allowing you to put money into the higher risk, higher reward markets safe in the knowledge that you won’t starve.

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