Archive for the 'Republicans' Category

Once again, fire all the men!

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

It’s breathtakingly obvious that women don’t get paid 77% of what men make for the same job, or most every employer would fire all the men and pocket the extra loot. Even the WaPo has figured this out. Hint: when academic “studies” are at odds with common sense, they are almost always wrong. Christina Hoff Sommers adds some interesting details to the picture. It becomes a dangerous world when fabrications are the rule. BTW, if you like your 77 cents, you can keep your 77 cents. Period.

Unbridgeable until…..

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Just this morning we were thinking about the former Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. He’s written books, has a heck of a CV, and has received oodles of honors from very prestigious institutions. And yet there’s something missing from the résumé of the Job Czar: he’s never had a job in the private sector. It’s a remarkable thing, and atypical of US history, though quite typical of today’s utopians.

But the media don’t notice; in an important sense, they have also never worked in the private sector. Do the journalists ever talk to the ad sales people? It’s an unbridgeable gap, that between the media-academy-government mindset and those who came up in what was once called the real world. The universities have become detached from their original missions. All this has been dramatically exacerbated by the rapid progress of technology, which creates for the young a believable metaphor that their generation is not just the luckiest, but the wisest in human history.

This will end, but in all likelihood, it won’t end well. Wretchard points out a few ways things could change. Good luck to all!

When is a chide not a chide?

Friday, January 31st, 2014

So the US chides Syria? But now the chide has left the room. Or the chide became a slam (even though the hyperlink tells the real story again and again). The headline writer nailed it, but sadly he got too close to reality for the powers that be.

Fire all the men!

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

A genius said:

women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong

(Yes it’s wrong — fire all the men and every business in the USA can drastically cut its employee costs and make oodles of extra profits; hmmm, why aren’t they doing that?) The fellow has said this repeatedly. Of course this is the same guy who asserts that increasing the minimum wage creates jobs. The illogic of these assertions is stunning. Let’s make the minimum wage for women $1MM a year — that’s fix things. The audience of the ill-informed appears to be very large indeed.

Hmmm. Maybe there’s a genetic reason for this. For fun, let’s also compare this guy with this other guy, the latter being quite an author by the way. (And there’s more! There’s always more….)

Numbers, numbers, who’s got the numbers?

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

China Post:

In an article last Thursday titled “The enigma of China’s GDP statistics,” Xinhua said: “After the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday unveiled economic data for 2013, what grabbed the most attention was not only the 7.7-percent annual growth figure, but also a somewhat peculiar math problem.” While the country’s GDP amounted to 56.9 trillion yuan, or US $9.3 trillion dollars, Xinhua pointed out, the aggregate of the provincial GDP figures exceeded the national figures by 2 trillion yuan — with three of 31 provincial-level bodies not having reported their figures yet.

This phenomenon is not new. As Xinhua said, “the combined economic output of China’s provinces has long exceeded that of the national level compiled by the NBS.” The reasons are “overlapped calculation” and “price divergence” among different regions and “GDP obsession” of local officials.

“Due to local officials’ obsession with governing performance, the local figures will be more or less overblown,” Cong Liang, deputy head of the department of national economy of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a press conference. “The NBS is working hard to correct this.” Hitherto, each year, local officials have been assessed on the basis of the increase in GDP in their localities. Thus, there is a huge incentive for officials to focus on increasing GDP regardless of any adverse effect and, in fact, to overstate GDP growth.

WSJ, quoting Lombard: “China’s economy grew just 6.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013…That compares with the 7.7% fourth-quarter increase reported by China’s statistics bureau.” When China’s was growing 10% a year give or take, the massive cooked books issue was less of a problem. In a 6% growth environment, it’s a different story. And remember, even this lower growth rate is part fantasy.

What hath the faculty lounge wrought?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

We had a bead on the college professor many years ago, and things have played out pretty much as anticipated when you are bossed around by the faculty lounge, at least the sort of faculty lounge where you bring a gun (or a pen) to the fight if your foe brings a knife. Roger Simon has a depressing piece on the assault on science by the worshipers of the West’s most dynamic and destructive religion. VDH weighs in on the War on the Young, no laughing matter indeed. And that War was well underway years ago as well. If there’s a cause for optimism in any of this, it’s lost on us. With the media sinking to servile pursuits aimed at the LCD, and the education establishment so ignorant and self-righteous in indoctrinating the young into pernicious tomfoolery, we just don’t see an end that is much short of catastrophe. Are we missing something?

Ruh Roh

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Hmmmm. Glenn Reynolds seems to be asking for the treatment that John Hinderaker is also on the list for. Is it a coincidence that they are lawyers (as opposed to, say, filmmakers)?

Things to read

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Dr. Strangelove was true? Doubt it. Jerry Lee Lewis killed one of his many young wives. Seems likely. Hinderaker will get a knock on his door. Definitely. The US has 50% of the world’s lawyers. Ouch! In the academy, all literature is political. Yuck! The ME is a mess. Who knew? The GOP is the stupid party. Duh….

Clarity vs. BS

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Zakaria:

This strikes me as a train wreck. This strikes me as potentially a huge obstacle because the Iranian conception of what the deal is going to look like and the American conception now look like they are miles apart. The Iranian conception seems to be they produce as much nuclear energy as they want, but it is a civilian program and you can have as much monitoring and inspections as you want. The American position is that they have to very substantially scale back the enrichment of uranium and the production of centrifuges. Now for the first time you have the president of Iran unequivocally saying there will be no destruction of centrifuges. He also made clear in the interview with me that the two heavy water reactors would continue in operation. So this seems like — you know, this is stillborn — I’m not even quite sure what they’re going to talk about if these are the opening positions.

Clarity on one side, endless blather on the other. (BTW, Zakaria is months late in understanding what was obvious day one.) RMG has more if you’re interested.

Questions for high school seniors

Friday, January 24th, 2014

How many feet in a mile? How many yards in a mile? What is the circumference of the earth? What is the Pythagorean theorem? How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? What’s a woodchuck? How many men have served as president? What’s the official language of the UN and how come they can’t spell? What is the phrase “will a jolly man make a jolly visitor” a mnemonic for? What about “how terribly poor the frail paper boy looks”? What does “negative b plus or minus the square root of b squared minus 4ac over 2a” mean? What does the phrase “remember the alamo” refer to? Who is William Bradford? What’s the first line of Moby Dick? Recite three lines of any Shakespeare sililoquy. When is a door not a door? (When it’s ajar.) What’s the shortest verse in the King James bible? What’s your opinion on the Psalm 46 kerfuffle? What’s wrong with the phrase “agricola amat puellam“? What are NaCl and entropy?

Well, we could have performed well enough on most of those in high school, except for the bits about Psalm 46 and the woodchuck. We suspect that fewer high school seniors would fare as well today. Question: how would the writers of this speech do?

Approaching self-parody

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

We referred to the media’s double standards that are both depressing and humorous — they become parodies of themselves just by switching a few words, as Peggy Noonan demonstrated. (Is it just us or is this much worse than it was 10 years ago?) How about the politician who says her opponent “hasn’t walked a day in my shoes” and wants to “slam the doors I walked through and pull up the ladders I was lucky to be able to climb.” What’s up with that?

Ann Coulter answers all.

A warmer East Germany

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Totten went to Cuba:

the waiter at the restaurant where I had lunch handed me a card indicating the establishment has a page up on Trip Advisor in case I felt like writing a review once I got home. The Internet scarcely exists in Cuba. It’s banned in private homes. No Cubans surf Trip Advisor when they wonder where they should go out to lunch. Who can afford to go out to lunch? The government imposes a Maximum Wage of twenty dollars a month.

These people have been crushed into poverty and are kept there by force. The restaurant is strictly for foreigners from nations with minimum wages rather than maximum wages. The staff have probably never seen their own Web site. And yet, they have 157 reviews. You might think, if you looked it up on the Internet, that eating out and vacationing in Cuba is no stranger than doing so in Puerto Rico or Aruba or anywhere else in the Caribbean. Yet Cuba is little different from East Germany when it was still cut off from West Berlin by the Wall.

Yet some people like the place.

Moral of the story?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Gadgeteer:

I have been using Google Glass for about 2 months now, and about 2 weeks ago I got prescription lenses for the glasses. So in the past two weeks I was wearing Google Glass all the time. There were no stories to write about, until yesterday (1/18/2014). I went to AMC (Easton Mall, Columbus, OH) to watch a movie with my wife (non- Google Glass user). It is the theater we go to every week, so it has probably been the third time I’ve been there wearing Google Glass, and the AMC employees (guy tearing tickets at the entrance, girl at the concession stand) have asked me about Glass in the past and I have told them how awesome Glass is with every occasion.

Because I don’t want Glass to distract me during the movie, I turn them off (but since my prescription lenses are on the frame, I still wear them). About an hour into the movie (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says “follow me outside immediately”. It was quite embarrassing and outside of the theater there were about 5-10 cops and mall cops. Since I didn’t catch his name in the dark of the theater, I asked to see his badge again and I asked what was the problem and I asked for my Glass back. The response was “you see all these cops you know we are legit, we are with the ‘federal service’ and you have been caught illegally taping the movie”.

I was surprised by this and as I was obviously just having a nice Saturday evening night out with my wife and not taping anything whether legally or illegally, I tried to explain that this is a misunderstanding. I tried to explain that he’s holding rather expensive hardware that costed me $1500 for Google Glass and over $600 for the prescription glasses. The response was that I was searched and more stuff was taken away from me (specifically my personal phone, my work phone – both of which were turned off, and my wallet). After an embarrassing 20-30 minutes outside the movie theater, me and my wife were conducted into two separate rooms in the “management” office of Easton Mall, where the guy with the badge introduced himself again and showed me a different ID. His partner introduced herself too and showed me a similar looking badge. I was by that time, too flustered to remember their names (as a matter of fact, now, over 30 hours later I am still shaking when recounting the facts).

What followed was over an hour of the “feds” telling me I am not under arrest, and that this is a “voluntary interview”, but if I choose not to cooperate bad things may happen to me (is it legal for authorities to threaten people like that?). I kept telling them that Glass has a USB port and not only did I allow them, I actually insist they connect to it and see that there was nothing but personal photos with my wife and my dog on it. I also insisted they look at my phone too and clear things out, but they wanted to talk first. They wanted to know who I am, where I live, where I work, how much I’m making, how many computers I have at home, why am I recording the movie, who am I going to give the recording to, why don’t I just give up the guy up the chain, ’cause they are not interested in me. Over and over and over again.

I kept telling them that I wasn’t recording anything – my Glass was off, they insisted they saw it on. I told them there would be a light coming out the little screen if Glass was on, and I could show them that, but they insisted that I cannot touch my Glass for the fear “I will erase the evidence against me that was on Glass”. I didn’t have the intuition to tell them that Glass gets really warm if it records for more than a few minutes and my glasses were not warm. They wanted to know where I got Glass and how did I came by having it. I told them I applied about 1000 times to get in the explorer program, and eventually I was selected, and I got the Glass from Google. I offered to show them receipt and Google Glass website if they would allow me to access any computer with internet. Of course, that was not an option. Then they wanted to know what does Google ask of me in exchange for Glass, how much is Google paying me, who is my boss and why am I recording the movie. Eventually, after a long time somebody came with a laptop and an USB cable at which point he told me it was my last chance to come clean…

So what’s the moral of this creepy story? Don’t wear the glasses? Don’t go to AMC? How about this one — and make sure you get the ID’s of these thugs…

The key word is survival on the New Frontier

Monday, January 20th, 2014

VDH: “our way of life is changing not with a bang, but with a whimper, insidiously and self-inflicted, rather than abruptly and from foreign stimuli. Most of the problem is cultural. Unfortunately it was predicted by a host of pessimistic anti-democratic philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Hegel and Spengler. I’ve always hoped that these gloom-and-doomers were wrong about the Western paradigm, but some days it becomes harder.” Maybe so. Here are some scenes from a better world, and it wasn’t that long ago.

yip yawp

Monday, January 20th, 2014

A guy:

The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant…I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian. Let’s just keep in mind, Falluja is a profoundly conservative Sunni city in a country that, independent of anything we do, is deeply divided along sectarian lines. And how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into…You have a schism between Sunni and Shia throughout the region that is profound. Some of it is directed or abetted by states who are in contests for power there. You have failed states that are just dysfunctional, and various warlords and thugs and criminals are trying to gain leverage or a foothold so that they can control resources, populations, territory…And failed states, conflict, refugees, displacement — all that stuff has an impact on our long-term security. But how we approach those problems and the resources that we direct toward those problems is not going to be exactly the same as how we think about a transnational network of operatives who want to blow up the World Trade Center. We have to be able to distinguish between these problems analytically, so that we’re not using a pliers where we need a hammer, or we’re not using a battalion when what we should be doing is partnering with the local government to train their police force more effectively, improve their intelligence capacities.

Meanwhile, back on planet earth: “al Qaeda’s work converged that night in Benghazi, according to a bipartisan report last week by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Global jihadists created a sort of convention of at least four terrorist franchises.”

Understanding 1930′s England

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

America today seems to us rather similar in some ways to England in the 1930′s, where fools in positions of power spun dangerous fantasies, to the praise of the self-anointed opinion elite, fools themselves by the way. In one way it’s worse today, since the powers that be are so deeply dishonest. In a way it’s better, since it is the Julia’s who put these people in power and it is not inconceivable that one day they will grow up. That might be a cold morning.

Some reading

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Barone:

The straggler here is Illinois, burdened with a sharp tax increase and huge public sector pension obligations. Its immigration rate has fallen below the national average, and its domestic outmigration rate in 2010-12 (the latest numbers available) was higher than any other state but Rhode Island. Illinois’ 2012-13 growth rate was the fourth lowest of any state. Poor public policy has proven capable of sapping the amazing historic vitality of Chicagoland.

A vivid contrast is Texas, whose population grew 5.2 percent between 2010 and 2013, a higher percentage than anywhere else except much-tinier North Dakota and D.C. With 8 percent of the nation’s population in 2010, Texas produced 18 percent of its population growth in the next three years. That has largely been the result of relatively high birth rates and high domestic in-migration.

Immigration, running about the national average rate, has been a smaller factor, accounting for only one-sixth of the state’s growth. The shale boom has obviously helped Texas, but it’s far from the sole cause of its strength. Its economy is highly diversified, to the point that it’s gaining high-tech jobs from Silicon Valley. From September 2007 to November 2013, while the nation lost 1.8 million jobs, Texas gained 1.1 million.

Pretty obvious stuff, but it’s good to know the numbers. Also interesting is the review of the Gates book by Thomas Ricks in the NYT — the review begins in the third paragraph from the bottom.

That’s Entertainment

Friday, January 17th, 2014

The budget bill costs $3 million per word. There are apparently 11.5 million words of ACA regulations. Jay Cost has a good piece on Arkansas, where they don’t like such things.

A long time ago, in a culture far far away

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Heather Mac Donald:

Until 2011, students majoring in English at UCLA had to take one course in Chaucer, two in Shakespeare, and one in Milton — the cornerstones of English literature. Following a revolt of the junior faculty, however, during which it was announced that Shakespeare was part of the “Empire,” UCLA junked these individual author requirements. It replaced them with a mandate that all English majors take a total of three courses in the following four areas: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing. In other words, the UCLA faculty was now officially indifferent to whether an English major had ever read a word of Chaucer, Milton or Shakespeare, but the department was determined to expose students, according to the course catalog, to “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.” Such defenestrations have happened elsewhere, and long before 2011. But the UCLA coup was particularly significant because the school’s English department was one of the last champions of the historically informed study of great literature, uncorrupted by an ideological overlay. Precisely for that reason, it was the most popular English major in the country, enrolling a whopping 1,400 undergraduates. The UCLA coup represents the characteristic academic traits of our time: narcissism, an obsession with victimhood, and a relentless determination to reduce the stunning complexity of the past to the shallow categories of identity and class politics. Sitting atop an entire civilization of aesthetic wonders, the contemporary academic wants only to study oppression, preferably his or her own, defined reductively according to gonads and melanin. Course catalogs today babble monotonously of group identity. UCLA’s undergraduates can take courses in Women of Color in the U.S.; Women and Gender in the Caribbean; Chicana Feminism; Studies in Queer Literatures and Cultures; and Feminist and Queer Theory. Not so long ago, colleges still reflected the humanist tradition, which was founded not on narcissism but on the all-consuming desire to engage with the genius and radical difference of the past.

Peter Wood has a piece worth reading on Mac Donald. The only good news is that technology is going to effectively put many of these folks out of business.

It’s all so very odd. There’s so much to learn, both the practical and the cultural (someone is always going to be offended BTW — see here and here for example). Life was tougher in the days when everyone knew farmers and soldiers, but there was less reason to make up hobgoblins that for the most part don’t exist.

“Nonpaper”

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

LAT:

Key elements of a new nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers are contained in an informal, 30-page text not yet publicly acknowledged by Western officials…Araqchi referred to the side agreement using the English word “nonpaper,” a diplomatic term used for an informal side agreement that doesn’t have to be disclosed publicly…“No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded,” he said. “All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.”

The publicly available information on the deal sounds okay (except for infelicities like “time-bound”), but really, how effectively can you monitor a secret program often carried out in secret facilities?