Daily Digest 10/28 – U.S. Budget Deficit Largest Since 2012, Fires And Power Outages In CA


U.S. government’s annual budget deficit largest since 2012 (tmn)

It is the first time since the early 1980s that the budget gap has widened over four consecutive years. The figures reflect the second full budget year under U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican, and come at a time when the country has an expanding tax base with moderate economic growth and an unemployment rate currently near a 50-year low.

The Kingpin Problem (TS)

To the extent that widespread deaths among ISIS middle- and upper-management ranks made it difficult for the organization to function—a tactic Barack Obama also relied on to help cripple terrorist networks—there was no symbolic victory like the death of the very top leader. And Baghdadi’s death is indeed a turning point in the War on Terror, just as Osama bin Laden’s was in 2011. It’s just not clear what the war is turning to.

Let’s talk about the US deploying more troops to Syria (Don R.)


Trump wants to make a deal with Exxon or others to tap Syrian oil: ‘We should be able to take some’ (Sparky1)

“This was the chief source of revenue for a long time for ISIS,” Graham said. “It is now in the hands of Syrian Democratic Forces, which are Arabic Kurds, mostly Kurds, with the partnership with the United States. So, no this doesn’t violate any law. In my view, what it does is just good common sense foreign policy.”

“This is a win-win,” he continued. “The SDF will get more money if we can modernize the oil fields.”

Your Uber Driver Is ‘Retired’? You Shouldn’t Be Surprised (jdargis)

Despite spending 40 to 60 hours a week picking up riders in his 2015 Subaru Forester, Mr. Ellenbogen is barely surviving financially. He had to give up his apartment and move into his mother’s condo in Verona, N.J. He relies on Medicaid for health care.

“It’s something I’m accepting because I’m in need of money,” he said of his Lyft gig. “I’m capable of better things, but this is what’s available to me.”

German X-Ray Telescope Takes First Images of Universe. Here They Are (Thomas R.)

“These first images from our telescope show the true beauty of the hidden universe,” Peter Predehl, principal investigator of eROSITA, said in a statement. “To meet our science goals, we needed enough sensitivity to detect the most-distant clusters of galaxies in the universe over the whole sky and resolve them spatially. These first light images show that we can do exactly that, but we can go a lot further.”

A health care algorithm offered less care to black patients (jdargis)

When the researchers compared black patients and white patients to whom the algorithm assigned similar risk scores, they found the black patients were significantly sicker, for example with higher blood pressure and less well-controlled diabetes. This had the effect of excluding people from the extra care program on the basis of race. The hospital automatically enrolled patients above certain risk scores into the program or referred them for consideration by doctors.

Elon Musk Set Up His Shanghai Gigafactory in Record Time (tmn)

Sometime in late 2019, the first Chinese-made Tesla Model 3 destined for customers will roll off an assembly line at Tesla Inc.’s new Shanghai Gigafactory. When that happens, it’ll be a rare case in which Elon Musk, the company’s famously scattered chief executive officer, has managed to hit one of his famously ambitious deadlines.

Kincade Fire: The Age of Flames Is Consuming California (tmn)

There’s good reason that, for the past three years, Northern California has seen particularly massive, fast-moving wildfires tear through communities. Every autumn, winds blow in from the northeast, heating up and picking up speed as they descend through mountain valleys. This sucks moisture out of vegetation, turning it into the perfect fuel for wildfires.

As many as 2 million in California may have power cut as fires rage (tmn)

There are already indications that, despite earlier power shutoffs in anticipation of the week’s fire weather, the largest of the state’s fires, the Kincade fire in Sonoma County, started near a PG&E transmission tower that malfunctioned around the same time, authorities said.

Wind-Fueled Wildfires Push California Governor To Declare State Of Emergency (Thomas R.)

The Kincade Fire is just 5% contained after three days and has burned about 54,000 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Smoke from the fires is affecting the entire Bay Area, though in most of the region, air quality was not expected to exceed the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” range.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 10/25/19

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