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progree's Journal
progree's Journal
December 18, 2021

Netherlands imposes weeks-long nationwide lockdown amid omicron-fueled case surge

Source: The Hill via MSN.com

The Netherlands is imposing a weeks-long nationwide lockdown amid a surge of cases caused by the new omicron variant.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced Saturday that nonessential stores, bars and restaurants will be shut down from Sunday until Jan. 14 and that schools will be shut down until Jan. 9, The Associated Press reported.

On Christmas and New Year's, Dutch households will be allowed only four visitors. Only two visitors will permitted on all other days during the lockdown.


The Netherlands is now at the forefront of a number of European countries tightening restrictions as the omicron variant spreads across the continent and nations mark some of their highest daily COVID-19 case numbers since the pandemic began.

Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/netherlands-imposes-weeks-long-nationwide-lockdown-amid-omicron-fueled-case-surge/ar-AARX8Hn?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531

"The Associated Press reported" --

Some excerpts from that:

Denmark has closed theaters, concert halls, amusement parks and museums. Ireland imposed an 8 p.m. curfew on pubs and bars and limited attendance at indoor and outdoor events.

In the Netherlands, shoppers fearing the worst swarmed to commercial areas of Dutch cities earlier Saturday, thinking it might be their last chance to buy Christmas gifts.

Rotterdam municipality tweeted that it was “too busy in the center” of the port city and told people: “Don’t come to the city.” Amsterdam also warned that the city’s main shopping street was busy and urged people to stick to coronavirus rules.

... Scientists are warning the British government it needs to go further to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Leaked minutes from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies suggested a ban on indoor mixing and hospitality, the BBC reported.
December 11, 2021

MN Bar Owner Who Defied COVID Orders Sentenced To 90 Days In Jail (The Interchange, Albert Lea)

Bar Owner Who Defied COVID Orders Sentenced To 90 Days In Jail, 12/10/21

The owner of a bar in Albert Lea was found guilty of six criminal misdemeanor charges and sentenced to 90 days in jail for defying Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders to close her business last winter.

The jury found Lisa Hanson, 57, guilty after deliberating for an hour, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

Judge Joseph Bueltel gave her a 90-day jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. He says he wanted to send a message to people who violate executive orders.

Hanson had flaunted her defiance of an order to shut bars and restaurants to indoor dining late last year. She argued that Walz’s orders were unconstitutional.



I used to monitor these Minnesota resistor bars' Facebook pages and carefully follow news stories about them during the winter shutdowns we had last winter.

It's hard to say who was the most obnoxious of them all. They all blathered Freedom and Constitution and American flags were everywhere. And glorifying veterans and the war dead for dying for our freedoms. And God of course, and our God-given freedoms. She was one of the most sickening, tiresome, and obnoxious.


Edited to add and God of course. Also the Facebook page. See left-side of page -- doesn't even have the decency to update that, one would think it's still open, despite a "The Interchange" comment on December 5 deep in one of the threads, "We’ve been closed since February 2021"

Edited to add This from MSN's version of the AP story --

She represented herself during the three-day trial and mostly argued that Walz's orders were unconstitutional.

“Liberty and freedom,” Hanson shouted as she was taken into custody by a sheriff's deputy.

Hanson has also been hit with fines totaling over $27,000 from separate legal actions brought after she left the state while facing the charges. Her business, The Interchange, closed in February.
December 9, 2021

"Cuz we're stupid fuckheads" - 2 MN Repuk gov. candidates have had Covid but not been vaccinated

Actually they didn't say that, that would show way too much insight and self-awareness for a RepubliCON

Five GOP candidates for governor say they’ve had COVID-19, MPR, 12/8/21

Five of the Republicans running for governor revealed Tuesday night that they have had COVID-19, but they remain firmly opposed to any vaccination mandates.

Michelle Benson, Paul Gazelka, Scott Jensen, Mike Murphy and Neil Shah discussed their personal health histories and vaccine views during a 3rd District candidate forum in Wayzata.

Jensen and Murphy said they have not been vaccinated. The others have been.

Jensen, who is a physician and former state senator, stressed that he does not tell his patients what to do on vaccines, even though many doctors and public health officials have been urging people to get vaccinated.

“The patient should champion their own health care,” Jensen said.

Shah, who is also a physician, said he was vaccinated when he contracted COVID-19. ... “I took horse dewormer ((Ivermectin)), and I’m still here,” Shah said

More (ugh): https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/12/08/five-gop-candidates-for-governor-say-theyve-had-covid19

The context is that Minnesota's daily new cases has never been higher in the entire pandemic, except for the one-month period Nov 10 - Dec 11 last winter. The same for hospitalizations and deaths. Currently new cases are up 9% in the last 2 weeks (7 day moving averages). And MN is number 4 highest in the nation in daily new cases per capita.

As for U.S. as a whole: US new cases up 72% since Oct 25 low, highest since Sept 25, Deaths: +43% since Nov 29

Perhaps I should change the pseudo-quote in the title line to: “Now we have become Death, the destroyer of worlds” -- The Republican Bhagavad-Gita

As he witnessed the first detonation of a nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945, a piece of Hindu scripture ran through the mind of Robert Oppenheimer: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. It is, perhaps, the most well-known line from the Bhagavad-Gita, but also the most misunderstood.


December 2, 2021

Word to the wise: the crash is coming, get out of the stock market now ⚠ 👀 😱

I've been hearing "the crash is coming" ever since 2014 or so, and "that's why I stay out of the Wall Street Casino" ... "The House has the edge" and so on.

So, I decided to see what would have happened if some unfortunate soul had ignored the advice of the coming crash and went to the "Wall Street Casino" and had invested in an S&P 500 index fund at the worst possible time, October 9, 2007, at the very peak of the Housing Bubble market just before the worst crash since the Great Depression (The Housing Bubble crash resulted in a 57% decline from peak to trough).

Le's see how the unfortunate soul did:

From 10/9/07 to yesterday's 12/1/21 close:

S&P 500: went from 1,565 to 4,513 for a 7.77% annualized return just on the price appreciation (i.e. throwing away the dividends)

VFINX adjusted for dividends: from 110.07 -> 417.52 for a 9.88% annualized return (note the near-quadrupling in just 14 years)

VFINX is the Vanguard S&P 500 Index Fund -- the results above are the real-world results of what Six Pack Joe or Jane would have gotten -- they are after fund expenses. It's not "theoretical" at all, it's what someone would have gotten had they invested in 10/9/07 and sold on 12/1/21.

I pick the S&P 500 because it is about 80-85% of the U.S. total market and the benchmark of the U.S. market that is most commonly used by professionals (the Dow is better known but is far less representative of the U.S. equities as a whole). And the one that Warren Buffett has recommended to anyone who simply wants to have an equity stake and that doesn't want to do research on individual stocks or sectors.

As for the "House" having the edge, no doubt -- I feel the same way when I look at the alternatives, e.g. for CD's or bonds to buy -- like 1.0% on a 4 year CD, 2.2% or so current yields on intermediate-term bond funds. Or a money market account of savings account paying 0.10%. But that's just me I guess.

As for where I got the numbers, it's from Yahoo Finance Historic Data:

VFINX: https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFINX/history?p=VFINX

For VFINX, the "Close" column is just the price, i.e. it doesn't include dividends.

Whereas the "Adjusted Close" column is adjusted by reinvested dividends and other distributions.

S&P 500: https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/%5EGSPC/history?p=%5EGSPC

As for the S&P 500 index, it's just the index value. Close and Adjusted Close are the same, i.e. there isn't a version of the S&P 500 index that includes dividends.

Anyway, what matters is the total return that includes dividend reinvestment: 9.88%/year. And remember that's someone investing at the worst time -- the peak before the Housing Bubble crash.

Yeah but it's just a few percent more, I'd rather sleep at night etc. etc.

Well that's understandable, but if you need some of your retirement savings to live on after you retire -- what matters is whether you'll run out of your retirement savings money before you die, and countless simulations show that the likelihood of that occurring is far higher with an all fixed income portfolio than with one with a mix of equities and fixed income.

Over time, a 9.88% annualized return, if maintained, doubles one's investment every 7.4 years, quadruples in 15.8 years, 8-folds in 22.2 years etc. The magic of compounding.

Whereas if one is lucky to get and maintain a 3.00% total return in bond investments, that takes 23.4 years to double, 46.8 years to quadruple, 70.2 years to reach 8-fold, etc.

BTW, the VFINX returns would have been much higher if the person had invested at the very best time -- the bottom of the crash, on 3/9/09 when the S&P 500 bottomed out at 677. VFINX's adjusted close on that date was 49.25. So from that point to 12/1/21 close, VFINX with dividends reinvested would have gone from 49.25 to 417.52 in 12.73 years, that's an 8.47-fold increase -- that's an annualized return of 18.28%

(An 18.28% annual return results in a doubling in 4.1 years, a quadrupling in 8.2 years, an 8-folding in 12.3 years etc.)

Here's another metric:

The VFINX S&P 500 index fund has had an average annualized return of 11.62% since its August 31, 1976 inception to 11/30/21, per

(see: "Life of Fund" )

During that time (8/31/76 - 11/30/21), it went up 144 fold. Yes, that's what a 11.62% return over 45.248 years compounds to.

A 7% return in bonds during that same period would have resulted in a 21.4 fold increase.

A 4.62 percentage point annual return difference is the difference between having $144,000 and have $21,400 on a $1,000 investment over 45.248 years.

A VERY LATE EDITED TO ADD, 1/3/22 - bucolic_frolic made the very good point that the stock market is undoubtedly being buoyed up by years of $trillions of bond-buying by the Federal Reserve to reduce interest rates. So the 9.88% annualized rate of return between the housing bubble peak and December 1 value is higher than if the Fed wasn't pumping in all that stimulus.

So, I figured what if the market is, say, 50% overvalued? i.e. instead of a "3" value, it should be a "2" value? I figured the rate of return after the market adjusted back to the "2" would be a still very nice 6.84%/year annualized average return. (I used the Vanguard Total U.S. Stock Market Index fund VTSMX rather than the S&P 500 fund for this calculation, but would be very similar for the S&P 500 fund ). And again this is for someone investing at the very very worst time -- the peak before the housing bubble crash.

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About progree

Thanks for all the good wishes. A wellness check was done several days ago My next door neighbor of 43 years is looking out for me

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