A collection of short items that I hope you’ll find as interesting as I did.

A businessman in Florida was one of the early donors to Rick Singer’s so-called charity consulting service to help get his daughter into an elite college. He paid Singer $400,000 and got his daughter into the college they coveted.

The daughter stayed one year and left to attend the N.Y. version of FIDM, a state school.

Wonder if daddy asked Singer for a refund?

Too Many Guns

The core problem in our epidemic of mass shootings, in my opinion, is that we have too many guns and too easy access to acquiring them.

There are many countries that have similar cultures to ours, relatively the same diversity and terrain. They all have mental illness, access to the internet, and violent video games.

Let’s take Canada for example. We’ve had over 250 mass shootings this year; Canada has had none. We have 121 guns for each 100 of our population; Canada has 35. We have 7x per capita gun homicides as Canada.

Canada has a little more regulation with waiting periods than we do and is about to initiate a ban on assault weapons—72% of Canadians are in favor of that ban.

This is not to say that we have done enough to spot and treat mental illness or that violent video games do not influence the mentally ill; but we have to start with the basic core of our problems.

There is no reason for private citizens to own military style weapons. Let’s start there.

How to Spot the Next Recession

With America’s record-long economic boom slowing, it’s natural to wonder whether the country is headed toward a recession. Ben Casselman of the NYT has a handy guide on what signals to look out for and whether they’re showing danger.

Rapid increases in unemployment: Right now, there’s nothing to worry about.

An inverted yield curve, which occurs when the interest rate for 10-year Treasury bonds falls below that of three-month Treasuries: Looking worrisome, but not a reason to panic.

The I.S.M. Manufacturing Index falls below 45 for a while: It’s down, but that’s in part because of the trade war, and because manufacturing is less important for the U.S. economy than it once was.

Consumer confidence falls 15 percent over a year: Not a cause for concern yet.

Mr. Casselman’s caveat: None of these are perfect. “Historically, the best that forecasters have been able to do consistently is recognize that we’re in a recession once we’re in one,” the economist Tara Sinclair told him.

The current economy could be as good as it gets.

Losing VP Candidates Fade into Oblivion

Who was Hillary Clinton’s VP running mate in 2016? Don’t be alarmed. Not many people remember, including me.

Most losing VP running mates are not long remembered.

Here are a few recent ones:

• 2016 – Tim Kaine, VA
• 2012 – Paul Ryan, WI
• 2008 – Sarah Palin, AK
• 2004 – John Edwards, NC
• 2000 – Joe Lieberman, CT

And here are a few others you probably don’t hear much about since their defeat: Geraldine Ferraro, Jack Kemp and Dan Quayle.

On the other hand, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson became president.

How Not to Get Prosecuted

I guess it helps to be a known personality and hold important positions. The Justice Department announced that it would not prosecute former FBI Director James Comey even though he admitted leaking memos with classified information in them. They followed a similar approach with Hillary Clinton who had multiple items of classified information on her personal server which in itself was unauthorized.

Who Said This?

“Younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven’t reinstitutionalized it. We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection.”

Actually, it was Ronald Reagan in his farewell address over 30 years ago.

Whether you voted for him or not, it was somewhat prophetic.

Canada Joins U.S. in Foreign Attempts to Influence Elections

Vivian Krause, a Vancouver-based researcher and activist, has spoken out to prove that foreign money “moved the needle” in the 2015 federal election campaign, with groups claiming credit for defeating 26 conservative incumbents. These foreign-funded groups, such as OPEN and Leadnow, pumped millions of dollars into Canada’s federal election, a dangerous loophole in Canadian law that the Trudeau government refuses—perhaps not surprisingly—to close. Leadnow admitted that it received foreign funding before the 2015 election but claims that money was not used in its Vote Together campaign to defeat the Harper Conservative government.

“This was done as part of the campaign to land-lock our crude. To defeat the one political party (the Conservatives) that was committed to breaking the American monopoly that’s keeping our country over a barrel,” she said.

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