Sunday, March 1, 2015

Open Post

I'm having weather induced internet difficulties, so have at it.  What do you want to talk about?  The FCC, Rand Paul, DHS? Anything is fair game.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Tribute to Winter

This was originally going to be a tribute to New England's winter, but since it's been snowing for the past week...


Friday, February 27, 2015

What are we Afraid of?

Midnight Mist: Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho

As it turns out, the number one fear we have is... walking alone at night, at least according to a survey by Chapman University

  1. Walking alone at night
  2. Becoming the victim of identity theft
  3. Lack of safety on the Internet
  4. Being the victim of a mass/random shooting
  5. Public speaking
The One Thing Americans Fear Most

I found that surprising, city or country I like walking at night alone or with company.  In fact none of the things on the list really bother me at all.  Public speaking used to be a fear of mine but after being forced to do it repeatedly it doesn't really bother me much at all (that's called exposure therapy by the way, although my exposure came through life not in anything formal).   I'm not particularly phobic about anything that I'm aware of, bugs, spiders, snakes, heights, flying, thunder/lightning, none of your standard phobia subjects are anything that bother me. I stumbled onto this study after reading a story about cetaphobia, the fear of whales, certainly an odd one yet one that supposedly hundreds of thousands suffer from.  Perhaps I'm just lucky, how about you?


Thursday, February 26, 2015

What Recovery?





In a recovery, you would expect to see higher median income. In Obama’s recovery, median incomes have actually dropped. Median inflation-adjusted household income in 2013 was $2,100 lower than when President Obama took office (and $3,600 lower than when George W. Bush took office). Productivity is up by 7.2 percent since the end of the recession, but hourly wages at the end of June 2009 were the same as they were at the end of October 2014: $22.15. Most Americans didn’t lose their jobs during the recession. But most Americans haven’t seen their incomes go up in this recovery.  This is the crisis known as “wage stagnation.”  Commentary Magazine - The Truth About Wage Stagnation


Bargaining power has shifted to employers, based on workers’ fears of permanent job loss.  Since 2000, it notes, a shrinking share of workers has changed jobs. In economics jargon, labor markets have “less fluidity”; workers are “moving less among jobs” than before. By reducing turnover, this defensiveness relaxes pressure on employers to increase compensation.  The study finds the tendency of people to shift jobs has dropped by almost one-third, from about 13 percent of the 16-and-over population in 2000 to 9 percent in 2013. Slower growth in compensation has, in turn, reduced labor’s share of the national income.  Washington Post -What's behind Wage Stagnation

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Uh, yeah, right.


J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is preparing to charge large institutional customers for some deposits, citing new rules that make holding money for the clients too costly, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the plan.

J.P. Morgan is making the moves because certain deposits are less profitable to handle than they used to be. New federal rules essentially penalize banks for holding deposits viewed as prone to fleeing during a crisis or a stressed environment.

Market Watch
Wall Street Journal

Let's see.... I give you my money, you give me some trivial amount of interest, turn around and loan it out for 5, 10, 15%... and it's too costly?  I got news for you J.P, you're not doing it right.

How long do you think it will take for this to trickle down to retail accounts?


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Government Monopoly on Information

Obama's FCC is set to vote Thursday on secret new Internet regulations and restrictions 

No transparency, no requests for comment, no debate on the Star Chamber's plan to clamp down on our Internet freedoms, and drag our internet quality and access down to Europe's level.

What?  You thought Europe's Internet was better?  Think again...

Pro-government regulation progressives have been making that claim based upon outdated studies.  Here are articles from this past year that cite newer studies and more recent data:

Financial Times:  Studies Show US Beats Europe on Broadband Speed and Access

Forbes:  The Grass Isn't Greener in Europe

Net Neutered

Progressives of all parties love attaching warm and fuzzy feel good names like "Net Neutrality" to their statist projects in order to mask their true intent: Power and Control.

Obama's first Internet power grab was back in 2008, but the courts slapped him down in 2010, finding his FCC Kommisars had no legal basis for demanding Comcast stop throttling BitTorrent transfers.  (for a constitutional scholar, he sure gets caught doing a lot of unconstitutional stuff)

Like all determined dictatorial regimes, the 0-Ministration has found another bludgeon:  The Communications Act of 1934.  As Homer Simpson would ask, "is that thing still around?"  Yes it is, and Papa's got a brand new bag.

Five years ago, the propaganda driver was hatred of Comcast (I'm not a customer).  This time around, leftwingers are rallying around...  hatred of Comcast!  Damn them for charging us money for their services!  The debate is confusing, Comcast could win or lose from Net Neutrality, and the company claims to be for it, while critics call Comcast's professed support a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Fairness

The added twist big government leftists now put on the debate is that every little bit of data should be treated equally, regardless if she is a bit of e-mail emanating from a big millionaire CEO or a humble blogger's upload; a streaming movie or song, or just a  workaday bit carrying one piece of a useless fart joke or a Gawker video meme on whether Kim Kardashian's butt can fit inside a battery powered car.

This in itself betrays a fundamental ignorance of how networks works, but I won't bore you with packet switching theory, packet differences, QoS, and bandwidth.  Guess what?  ISPs, content providers and fat pipe infrastructure owners work this out on their own every day within existing commerce regulations without any help from Big Government.  Yes, Comcast now collects more from Netflix, because Netflix on its own accounts for over 33% of internet traffic, the rest is used up by TMZ, porn, and peer-to-peer sharing of pirated content, with about one percent going to legitimate business use.

The Obamanet

Does anyone really think the government laying its clumsy mitts on the internet will make it better?  Does government make anything better?  Do you want an internet run by the same bureaucratic sludge factory that bring you Amtrack and the Post Office?

The verdict on Obamacare is in:  Wildly more expensive than promised, it did help a few uninsurables and people at the bottom, but at the expense of everybody else, many of whom lost their doctors and their preferred plans.  Government penetration of the healthcare market goes back decades, and health care inflation runs double that of the CPI, or higher, and despite Obamacare it is rising.

Education is the other market suffering forcible government penetration, and it's products and services are triple the CPI, measured since 1978.

Do you believe government regulation can make the following two claims possible?

A Lexus for the price of a 4-cylinder Chevrolet sub-compact!

A porterhouse steak and lobster dinner for the price of burger and fries!

If you do, then you probably support Obama's Net Neutrality.

What is Net Neutrality?

James Simpson at Watchdog.org has written an excellent article on Net Neutrality.

Here are some highlights:
Under contemplated net neutrality rules, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon and Comcast would not be allowed to charge higher prices for more access.
Here is the true motive.  Just as Obamacare hopes to strangle what's left of the private insurance and health market, making it ripe for complete government takeover, Net Neutrality will do the same for the internet, making it a government utility under government control:
Net neutrality is a form of price control, and price controls everywhere distort the market. By affording equal access to all comers at below cost, demand will skyrocket while supply dries up. If an ISP cannot provide Internet access at a profit, it will go out of business. The government will then step in to take its place.
It's a great article with many useful links, so please go give it a thorough read.  The author ends by asking why people rightly upset at government spying on them would want to turn the internet over to that same government?

Related question:  Would you rest easy with the internet in the hands of a moralist GOP government?  It's a public utility, and we can't have it streaming filth into our public schools, can we?  It's for the children!

Monday, February 23, 2015

America: An Islamic Nation?

We must ask the question:  Is President Obama insane? 

He made this statement at his Summit on Countering Violent Extremism of Mysterious Origins:
"Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding." (Whitehouse.Gov)
Is he nuts?  That is an absurd statement.  Does he actually believe it?  I agree with his comments that follow.  Muslims have and continue to make contributions to our society.  There probably were Muslims in Colonial America, but they had nothing to do with the founding or weaving our national fabric. 

Who Died and Made Obama the Defender of Islam?

This statement from the same speech is not his to make.  The US President is not a spokesman or defender of any religion:
"Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders -- holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.”"
[...]

"Of course, the terrorists do not speak for over a billion Muslims who reject their hateful ideology. They no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism. No religion is responsible for terrorism. People are responsible for violence and terrorism." (Applause.)

Who is Barack Obama to make such a statement?  Is he an Imam?  A religious scholar?  The ISIL butchers are Islamic.  They are Muslims, and they are raping, burning and beheading based upon a literal reading of the Koran.  Islamic hate preachers are egging them on.  It is not the place of a President of a secular republic to characterize a religion, negatively or positively, to defend or attack it.

This statement from a UN speech is also inappropriate:  
"The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam"
Oh really?  Is he prepared to back that up with action?  I agree that the US President must stand up for tolerance of all religions and avoid giving offense, but he's beyond that.  Would it be appropriate for him to criticize Islam?  Of course not.  By the same token, he is not qualified to defend it either.  That is the job of Muslims.

"The Bible is a Cheap Copy of the Koran"

Islam was founded by Muhammad in the 7th Century, but Muslims uniquely believe that God created the world Islamic, and that from Adam and Eve on, we are all created Muslims.  Those of us who are not Muslims are corrupted.  Although parts of the Koran read like a fractured fairy tale version of Bible stories, Muslims insist Islam came first.  Before Christianity.  Before Judaism.  Allah forbid anyone make the suggestion that Muhammad cribbed Bible stories but got them twisted up.  No, Muslims believe that the Koran is the only correct and true Word of God.

This is the mindset of the Islamic faith, and the President and his amateur dog whistlers pander to its religious bigotries and self-important beliefs of unique supremacy with every ridiculous utterance about the religion of peace. I understand where the Obama Administration is coming from.  We are not at war with Islam, and we wish its peaceful practitioners no ill.  But Obama's folks find it impossible to make such simple declarations.

If only little Hadji had a Falafel Stand...

Obama's Sophmore Girls' Foreign Policy Club lecture us that we can't win a war by killing the enemy.  Another absurd statement.  Could you imagine Churchill or FDR spouting such inanities?  But Obama's Giggly Girls do it with a condescending smirk and allow that we are probably not sophisticated enough to grasp such nuance.

If those rapists and head-choppers only had jobs...  If Adolph Hitler had only scored his own art gallery in 1932...  If only there were more jobs down at the Wienerschnitzel plant, Heinz and his school chums would never have joined the Gestapo...

Our government is off the rails, Neonazis are on the rise in Iraq and Syria, and Obama is handing Iran billions of dollars, and his laughing gas girls from Foggy Bottom lecture us with sophomoric platitudes.

In Obama's Defense

Below are two of the best articles I could find that that touch on Obama's outrageous claims about Islam and our nation's founding.  They are heavy on claiming Deism is really "Christian Islam," and they overemphasize Islam's influence on the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, Classical Scholasticism and intellectual luminaries like John Locke, but the arguments cite facts and are well-presented. 
 
Salon:  Our Founding Fathers Included Islam

Founders' Indebtedness to Islamic Thought

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Law is Truly an Ass

The Artful Dodger - George Cruikshank


Salt Lake City, Utah (CBS LAS VEGAS) – A Utah woman has been granted the ability to sue herself for negligence in the case of a deadly accident that killed her husband in 2011.

The Utah Court of Appeals has ruled that Barbara Bagley will be allowed to proceed with a wrongful-death lawsuit against herself for alleged negligence in the Dec. 27, 2011 accident east of Battle Mountain, Nev., that killed her husband, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports. Court documents show that Bagley will be suing the driver of the vehicle, Bagley, for an unspecified amount of money stemming from losses in medical, funeral costs and mental anguish.


Attorneys for Bagley say the widow is pursuing legal action for the benefit of the estate, and not just herself. Creditors will be paid prior to Bagley receiving the money she’d receive as her husband’s sole heir.  

Why not, the only people who have anything to lose are her insurers... who by the way, are defending her.

Just... WOW

* For those wondering about the engraving above, it is from Oliver Twist, the most commonly referenced work in which the statement "The law is an ass" appears.  An earlier work in which the statement appears is in Revenge for Honor, a play by Henry Glapthorne published posthumously in 1654.  So it is established that the Law has been an Ass for a very long time.