Monday, January 26, 2015

Whose Jobs?

Obama's progressive fanboys and fangirls, desperately shouting themselves hoarse in the vain effort to paint their hero as an economic champion, resort to tricks, superficial data gathering, and have even pointed out how great Wall Street is doing!

Meanwhile, Main Street limps along, lined now with big conglomerate banks that have the lawyers, tax cheats, financial sorcerers and government connections to overcome the tons of toxic bureaucratic sludge dumped on them after Bush's gang crashed the economy in 2008.  Many local banks were sucked under in the DC mudslide or were bought out by the big guys.

The economy is recovering, but the Obama presidency has seen the weakest economic recovery ever in the nation's history.  He has also presided over the most anemic jobs recovery ever, squeaking out a bare 5 million or so net new jobs in his six years as president, for a net total of 1.2 million new jobs since December 2007, the high water mark for jobs before the Great Recession.  If you think Obama's job growth sounds good, consider we added over 12 million people to our population in that timeframe. 

If the numbers confuse you, here is a quick chart based upon US government statistics.  Essentially, Bush bled out jobs in 2008, and the trend didn't reverse until well into Obama's first term, where only statistical trickery kept him from being a net job loss president.

Year         Workforce Size
Dec 2007 ... 146,273,000
Jan 2009 ... 142,152,000
Jan 2013 ... 143,328,000
Dec 2014 ... 147,442,000

Who created those jobs?
Economics professor and AEI scholar Mark J. Perry makes a bold statement:
Job creation in just one state – Texas – is solely responsible for the 1.169 million net increase in total US employment (+1,444,290 Texas jobs minus the 275,290 non-Texas job loss) in the seven year period between the start of the Great Recession in December 2007 and December 2014.

The other 49 states and the District of Columbia together employ about 275,000 fewer Americans than at the start of the recession seven years ago, while the Lone Star State has added more than 1.25 million payroll jobs and more than 190,000 non-payroll jobs (primarily self-employed and farm workers).  (Texas Job Growth)

He produced this chart to illustrate his point:

Immigrants Got the Jobs

The good folks at Center for Immigration Studies point out that all net job growth went to immigrants:
The BLS reports that 23.1 million adult (16-plus) immigrants (legal and illegal) were working in November 2007 and 25.1 million were working in November of this year — a two million increase.

For natives,124.01 million were working in November 2007 compared 122.56 million in November 2014 — a 1.46 million decrease.  (Employment Growth has gone to Immigrants)
These are tip of the iceberg numbers.  There was a lot of gross job destruction and creation between 2007 and now.

My question is, does any of this matter?  Could the average citizen understand it and put it into context that matters to their lives?

Additional Resources:
A Brief History of US Unemployment
Interactive Unemployment Rate Finder
Jobs Created by Presidential Term

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Do we have a Middle East Strategy?

“we’re partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America.” Barrack Obama - State of the Union
Since 2012, the United States has tried to build a “partnership” against al-Qaeda with President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, training selected Yemeni counterterrorism units and providing close to $1 billion in aid. Mr. Hadi, in turn, has allowed the CIA and Pentagon to use drone strikes to directly target militants deemed to be plotting against the United States. Washington Post

Two days after the State of the Union Address Yemen fell to Iranian sponsored Houthi rebels.

So I ask again, do we have a Middle East strategy?

Friday, January 23, 2015

This isn't a post about Politics

Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the New York Assembly was arrested yesterday on corruption charges.  Silver, whose state salary is $120,000, has earned millions.

“For many years, New Yorkers have asked the question, ‘How could Speaker Silver, one of the most powerful men in New York, earn millions of dollars in outside income without deeply compromising his ability to honestly serve his constituents?’” said US Attorney Bharara. “Today we provide the answer: He didn’t.”

Silver collected more than $3.2 million in referral fees from the law firm after directing more than 100 clients to Weitz & Luxenberg for asbestos litigation, according to the complaint.  But not a single one of the firm's clients ever contacted Silver or spoke with the politician about their cases, even as the law firm kept paying the fees. New York Daily News

NY Mayor De Blasio had this to say:

“Although the charges announced today certainly are very serious I want to note that I’ve always known Shelly Silver to be a man of integrity and he certainly has due process rights and I think it’s important that we let the judicial process play out,”

Due process rights he didn't extend to Michael Grimm (R-NY) who he immediately called upon to resign when charged. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

This isn't a post about Football

This is a post about morals, ethics, and the lack thereof.

In Sunday's AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts all the footballs were inspected two hours and fifteen minutes before the game, by half-time 11 of the 12 New England footballs were under-inflated by 2-3 pounds. Coincidence? Not likely, one ball may have had a slow leak, possibly two, but when 92% of the footballs you're playing with are under-inflated it's obvious what happened... someone let the air out.

Game day was cold, it was also rainy, a cold wet under-inflated football is marginally easier to catch and grip than a cold wet fully inflated one.  Did this make a difference in the game?  Maybe, but probably not by a 45-7 margin.  If you didn't know, each team uses its own balls while on offense, how much do you want to bet that the one properly inflated ball was reserved for New England's field goal attempts?

This isn't the first time New England and its coach has been involved in controversy surrounded by ethical questions and accusations of cheating.  In 2007 Head Coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, the team was fined $250,000 and lost a first round draft pick for filming the New York Jets Defensive Coach's hand signals.

Cheating and unsportsmanlike conduct should not be tolerated, disqualify the New England Patriots, ban Bill Belichick from the NFL (as head coach he's responsible), and send the Colts to the Superbowl against Seattle.

As a side note, I am an Eagles fan. I would have rooted for the Broncos as a current resident of Colorado if they were in it, and as a former resident of Massachusetts I would have rooted for New England against Seattle in the Superbowl as I rooted for Green Bay in the NFC Championship.  That said, I would have the same opinion of cheating if it were the Eagles at the center of this controversy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

State of the Union

So, what did you think of the State of the Union Address? Rather than pontificate with my opinion, below are some of the highlights of proposals.  I may have missed some, so feel free to add or opine on the below.

7-days Paid Sick/Maternity Leave
$3000 Childcare Tax Credit
Equal Pay for Equal Work
Free Community College
A Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan
Presidential Trade Promotion Authority
Precision Medicine Initiative
Re-energized Space Program
Fund Infrastructure and Basic Research
Close Corporate Tax Loopholes
Authorization for Use of Force against ISIL
End Cuban Embargo
Bipartisan Cyber Security Bill
Reform the Criminal Justice System

Some proposals are fairly concrete, others fairly vague.  What did you think of the overall message and the highlights outlined above?

I'll go ahead and get you started: Equal Pay for Equal Work

How can you guarantee women equal pay for equal work when you can't guarantee equal pay for "equal work" between two male employees since you can't guarantee equal performance?  In my experience no two employees produce equal work, some frankly are quite better than others.  Of course we're not talking assembly line work here, we're talking exempt salaried technical professionals.  Some folks in ostensibly the same job require far more supervision, quality control, and intervention than others.  

In the company I work for, each employee negotiates his or her own starting salary based on education, experience, and expertise and while there are some across the board pay raises for such things as cost of living adjustments there are also incentive pay raises based on individual performance.  There are women that make more than their male counterparts and vice versa.  How do you equalize pay when you can't equalize performance?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Sappho & Erinna by Simeon Solomon 1864

Billy Crystal recently found himself in hot water with the following comment to the Television Critics Association regarding gay sex:

"Sometimes, it’s just pushing it a little too far for my taste and I’m not going to reveal to you which ones they are. I hope people don't abuse it and shove it in our face to the point where it feels like an every-day kind of thing,"

So the question is, is Hollywood pushing gay sex on TV and in the movies? According to the Washington Post the National Center for Health Statistics puts the number of gay and bisexual Americans at less than 3%. More specifically, 1.8% of men and 1.5% of women self-identify as homosexual.

So where is Hollywood at?

Curiously that liberal bastion of "thought" Thinkprogress completely ignores homosexuality in their analysis of TV character demographics although helpfully provides that 9.6% of us would be doctors if reality mirrored TV. 

GLAAD reports that among 109 scripted prime-time shows featuring 796 regular characters, 26 are gay and 771 a ratio that works out to 3.3% for the 2013-2014 broadcast year, the previous years ration was 4.1%.

So it is possible that there are slightly more homosexuals on TV as you would find in real life, but those are just characters, not characters having sex.  Demographic numbers on TV sex scenes were a little harder to come by.  

A study by the National Institute of Health for the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 seasons found that sexual content associated with non-heterosexuals was found in 15% of content, although the overall occurrence was low. Curious to note that gay sex content increased almost 15% while heterosexual content increased only 7%.

One thing is for sure, Americans massively overestimate the number of homosexuals among us.  Overall US adults, on average, estimate that 25% of Americans are gay or lesbian, only 4% correctly identify that the true number is less than 5%.

In another GLAAD study of 138 shows, 86% had at least one gay character... how many do you think had an overtly self-identified Christian (76% of the population) character?

So what do you think? Is gay sex overrepresented on television?  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Eric Holder Strikes a Blow for Liberty

We had to wait six years, but finally, Attorney General Eric Holder does something good and useful.
U.S. attorney general bans asset seizure by local police

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - State and local police in the United States will no longer be able to use federal laws to justify seizing property without evidence of a crime, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday.
Local governments act as criminal gangs, stealing people's property. The worst of it is, if you are found not guilty, your property may be gone. If not, you have to pay massive storage fees to get your property out of impoundment.  I wrote about this back in 2010: 

How a working man in Denver lost his truck and his tools...

Mechanic Robin McAnally was driving to a work site in his GMC and needed a place to turn his rig around, so he went down a side street and as he was turning around, a woman opened the passenger side door, hopped in and offered him a Lewinski.  He turned her down, she got out and he headed back up the street.  Before he could get back onto the main thoroughfare, armed men came out of nowhere and forced him to stop and get out of his truck.

They took him to a warehouse where he realized he was not the only victim.  He was surrounded by others who had met a similar fate.  The armed men were taunting the victims as they made each man pose in front of his vehicle before it was towed away.

Criminal activity?  Yes, But...

I just described a “reverse john” sting staged by the Denver Police Department.  Robin was found not guilty by a jury of his peers after only 15 minutes deliberation.

Now exonerated, Robin went down to the Denver impound yard to retrieve his truck, only to be subjected to further abuse by the City of Denver. They informed him he must still pay $5,000 to get it back, even though he has done nothing wrong.

Illegal immigrants rob and kill, gangs run rampant, even killing a Denver Bronco football player, but the Denver Police have nothing better to do than entrap innocent citizens trying to get through a work day? And the city insists on collecting all fees even when they wrongly impounded the vehicle? This is state-sponsored theft.

Big Government Progressivism!  Behold Thy Fearsome Results!

Local talk show host Peter Boyles featured this story on his morning show, and boy did the progressive statists come out of the woodwork to criticize this man and stand up for a tyrannical government:

One person said it served him right driving through that bad neighborhood and he should learn a lesson from it.

Many noted that the man said his truck wasn’t worth the $5,000 impound fee so he should just forget it.

Activists scream that Denver's impoundment law violates the rights of illegal immigrants since they often drive with no license, no plates, no insurance, no right to be in the country...  But not one of the shrieking socialists stood up for a wrongly-charged man who needs his truck and tools to earn his bread.

Progressive Statism Destroys All It Touches, including Denver

I lived in Denver when I was a young man.  It was a nice place, full of working class people, college students and downtown yuppies.  Now it’s a fetid sewer, homeless bums wandering downtown, gangs shooting it out nightly, illegal immigrants taking over whole neighborhoods and killing citizens with drunk driving and outright murder.

Leftwing Libertinism disguised as liberalism twists a culture, causing a society to eat itself from the inside out like ants in a rotten log.

Denver can’t stop gangs from running rampant, and it has no will to stop illegal immigrants from bleeding the city dry, but it can sure go after law-abiding taxpayers to fund it all!  This dysfunction is not just confined to this once-great city.  This is a cancer that is progressively rotting the soul of this nation.
The heavy-handed state knows how to treat innocent citizens like criminals, but cannot stop the real criminals.  Over 3,000 people lost their lives on 9/11, but nobody lost their job.  Government officials who strip search us at airports can’t stop someone with a security clearance from harvesting a treasure trove of secrets and releasing them to the public.  Those charged with protecting us have failed, so they’ve turned on us, treating us all as criminals in the process.

Progressives of all parties dream of a Utopia America, while we realists dream of simple competence where lawbreakers are rolled up and law-abiding citizens are left to their liberties.

I want to congratulate Attorney General Holder for dealing a blow to tyranny and championing personal liberty.

Now, if I could only figure out why he did it...