Friday, September 4, 2015

The above chart from Mark Perry summarizes the college readiness results of Michigan students as measured by ACT scores.

There are many reasons for this performance, but according to Michigan Department of Education neither teachers nor administrators are to blame.  MCP reports:
Despite being called “the nation’s lowest-performing urban school area” by Gov. Rick Snyder earlier this year, just one of its 171 managers was judged to be “ineffective.” The evaluations are for the 2013-14 school year
And these wonderfully effective administrators in turn find, surprise surprise, that the quality of the teaching staff also has nothing to do with the quality of students their schools produce.  MCP reports that in Detroit only 2% of teachers were deemed to be ineffective....

Strongman Obama: The fines will continue until business morale improves

The WFB reports today that Nebraska Beef Ltd has just settled with the US Government for discriminating against non-U.S. citizens in its hiring practices:
The Department of Justice has accused a business of discrimination due to the company requiring employees to show proof of citizenship for employment. 
The DOJ claims that Nebraska Beef Ltd., a Nebraska-based meat packing company, “required non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documentary proof of their immigration status to verify their employment eligibility.” 
After receiving pressure from the government, Nebraska Beef agreed to pay $200,000 in a civil penalty settlement and said they will establish an uncapped back pay fund for people who lost wages because they could not prove they are in the country legally...
In June the Wall Street Journal reported that:
Broetje Orchards in Washington state, one of the country’s largest apple growers, has agreed to pay a $2.25 million fine for hiring illegal immigrants... 
...“All businesses are expected to comply with the law and to ensure the information provided on a form I-9 (employment form) is accurate,” ICE Director Sarah R. SaldaƱa said in announcing the fine...
Let's recap.

If you ask prospective employees for proof of their immigration status you will get fined and if you don't ask you will also get fined.

Apparently fines will continue until morale improves.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Another example of firefighters earning close to $250k a year

Redwood City Compensation Analysis  –  Full Time Firefighters 

As California Policy Center writes:
..The rates of total compensation currently earned by Redwood City’s firefighters are by no means unique. Comparable levels of pay and benefits for firefighters are in place throughout California’s cities. When firefighter jobs that pay a quarter-million a year in exchange for slightly over two 24 hour shifts per week open up, literally thousands of people apply for them. The goal of public safety would be enhanced if we could hire more public safety personnel, firefighters in particular, for less money. But today there is no viable political coalition, anywhere, with the power and will to make that happen.
 It's not as if they were exactly busy fighting fires  The total budget for the Redwood City FD was $16.5M in 2014 and there were 232 fire incidents in 2011 of which only 53 were buildings...

Gay marriage and religious hypocrisy in Kentucky

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who has repeatedly refused to issue gay marriage licenses, has been married four times and had twins out of wedlock

The New York Times reports:
Defying the Supreme Court and saying she was acting “under God’s authority,” a county clerk in Kentucky denied marriage licenses to gay couples on Tuesday, less than a day after the court rejected her request for a delay.
However, it takes the British tabloid, The Daily Mail, to reveal that:
The defiant Kentucky clerk who will not issue gay marriage licenses has been married four times and had twins out of wedlock, court records revealed.
Apparently she selectively applies "God's authority" as it suits her needs.  Fire her already

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Government health reccomendations wrong again? Your'e kidding me?
 If there is one health myth that will not die, it is this: You should drink eight glasses of water a day.
It’s just not true. There is no science behind it...
...None of this has slowed the tidal push for more water. It has even been part of Michelle Obama’s “Drink Up” campaign. In 2013, Sam Kass, then a White House nutritional policy adviser, declared “40 percent of Americans drink less than half of the recommended amount of water daily.”...
...There is no formal recommendation for a daily amount of water people need. That amount obviously differs by what people eat, where they live, how big they are and what they are doing. But as people in this country live longer than ever before, and have arguably freer access to beverages than at almost any time in human history, it’s just not true that we’re all dehydrated.

For more go here

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A major success for the Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), struggling to recover from yet another black eye after failing to detect 67 out 70 undercover investigators who smuggled mock explosives and weapons through checkpoints, has scored a high profile success that should have the entire nation sleeping easier tonight.

According to ABC News the DHS brought down a major criminal enterprise today....when it raided the offices of, which bills itself as the world's largest male escort service.

The sense of relief on the streets of New York City is palpable.

Its actually more like a limp-wristed slap


Instapundit crushes a New York Times article on the "muscular" response of Jeb Bush to the Donald:

Jeb Bush Takes a Cue From Donald Trump’s Playbook: Punch Back.
Mr. Trump has called Mr. Bush’s immigration plans “baby stuff” and his education policy “pathetic.” He has expressed mock sympathy for Mr. Bush’s audiences, who he says must be so bored that “they’re sleeping.” . . .
After enduring those slings and arrows for weeks, to the mounting dismay of supporters, Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, and his aides have decided to venture outside their comfort zone and borrow a page from Mr. Trump’s playbook: Hit back, with force and creativity, over and over again in the coming weeks.
It is a turning point in Mr. Bush’s campaign that was on display Monday in McAllen, Tex., along the border with Mexico. There, Mr. Bush called Mr. Trump’s immigration plan “unrealistic,” described his policies as un-Republican and acidly recommended that the businessman read Mr. Bush’s book “Immigration Wars” to acquaint himself with a practical solution.

Monday, August 24, 2015

I am guessing Krugman has not invested his retirement plan in Puerto Rican munis...

On August 21st Krugman wrote an op-ed proclaiming "debt is good" and that "governments are not deep enough" in it.

On February 9th Krugman wrote an op-ed explaining that "nobody understands debt" (except for him of course) because "debt is money we [America] owe to ourselves...and paying it off doesn't make us richer".  Put another way if you lend me a dollar and I don't pay you back that may be unfortunate for you, but the economy as a whole is essentially indifferent.

On August 3rd Paul Krugman wrote an op-ed on the Puerto Rican  debt crisis in which he sings the praises of big government that provides, among other things,  a safety net to Americans in times of need.  He also states that it would be a "terrible idea" if the owners of the government issued bonds that finance Puerto Rico's aforementioned safety net, such as hedge funds, were to be paid back in full.

The combination of these three op-eds explain and capture the very essence of Krugman's Keynesian worldview:

1. Government debt is good as it pays for needed services and we need more
2. The economy benefits from government debt regardless of whether it is repaid or not
3. Paying it back is optional

I am guessing Krugman has not invested his retirement plan in Puerto Rican munis.

That's one way to deal with wealth inequality

Bloomberg: World’s Richest People Lose $182 Billion in Market Rout

The world’s 400 richest people lost $182 billion this week from their collective fortunes as weak manufacturing data from China and a rout in commodities sent global markets plunging...

I trust Thomas Piketty is happy now...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Breast cancer: Why do doctors continue performing invasive surgery even though the data shows it has no benefit?

More compelling data that shows that women are subjected to traumatic surgeries which have no discernible benefits (other than to surgeons bank account):
...The latest round of controversy was set off by a paper published Thursday in JAMA Oncology that analyzed 20 years of data on 100,000 women who had the condition, which is also known as ductal carcinoma in situ, or D.C.I.S. The majority had lumpectomies (with or without radiation) and most of the others had mastectomies. The death rate from breast cancer of these patients, regardless of their choice of treatment, over the next 20 years was about the same as the lifetime risk in the general population of women, 3.3 percent. 
The study’s authors and other leading researchers in the field said the data indicates that treatment has not made much of a difference, if any, for the tens of thousands women a year who are told they have this condition. (Last year about 60,000 in the United States got a D.C.I.S. diagnosis.)
For more go here

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tariffs, crony capitalism and sugar...the never ending story

This is just depressing.

For years anyone with half a brain (I know this somewhat unfairly rules out most politicians) can see that tariffs result in Americans having  to pay twice as much for sugar as the rest of the world yet there is little political will to change this absurd situation.

Who benefits from this?  Certainly not the employees of U.S. based sugar producers (anyone heard of high paying jobs working in the sugar fields?) or companies that use sugar as a primary ingredient in their products, as outlined in the article below, and not consumers who pay over $3 billion a year in artificially inflated prices.

The primary beneficiaries are the owners of US based sugar producers who can charge twice as much as they ordinarily could and the politicians they donate to  in order to ensure limited competition from overseas producers.

How does this absurdity that has been around in one form or another since 1816 persist? It's a case study of politicians understanding (even those with half a brain) that the average consumer/voter does not understand the pernicious effects of the sugar tariffs while a handful of sugar barons do and they are prepared to pay handsomely for it.

The recent decision by the manufacturer of Oreo cookies to relocate their production from Chicago to Mexico was at least partly as a result of one of the many (generally) unseen costs of government intervention in markets:

...The leading ingredient in Oreos is sugar, and U.S. trade barriers currently require Americans to pay twice the average world prices for sugar.

Sugar-using industries now have a big incentive to relocate from the United States to countries where access to their primary ingredient is not restricted.

If the government wants people making Oreo cookies and similar products to keep their jobs, a logical starting point would be to eliminate the U.S. sugar program, including barriers to imported sugar.

This obvious connection between the lost jobs and sugar quotas was missed by many observers. According to one online commenter: “This is why tariff[s] on products coming to U.S must be raised.”

That’s backwards. When protectionist policies like the U.S. sugar program lead to offshoring, the response shouldn’t be to pass new laws to discourage such offshoring or to raise tariffs even higher. The response should be to eliminate government policies that encourage offshoring in the first place.

The loss of Oreo cookie jobs should reinforce a lesson on the job-destroying aspect of protectionist trade policies.

According to a 2006 report from the government’s International Trade Administration: “Chicago, one of the largest U.S. cities for confectionery manufacturing, has lost nearly one-third of its SCP manufacturing jobs over the last 13 years. These losses are attributed, in part, to high U.S. sugar prices.”

That lesson appears to be lost on unions that are supposed to represent the workers losing their jobs in Chicago.

For example, The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union consistently has opposed free trade agreements with sugar-producing countries like Australia, Brazil, and Mexico—the kind of trade deals that just might protect their members’ jobs.

Sure the decision to relocate to Mexico was not just driven by sugar costs, but was also driven by a highly unionized work force in what is one of the most business unfriendly city's in America.  But the answer is not, as Donald Trump and the unions have called for, even more intervention by putting more tariffs on imports.

The answer is to eliminate tariffs which almost always benefit the few at the expense of the many.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Well I am glad Hillary clarified that

Confirming she's a person.  What would we do without twitter?

Smoking is harmful. Nicotine isn't

Of course the nanny state bureaucrats want to regulate, control and ban every aspect of our lives that they don't like despite having an atrocious track record with public health advisories - think salt (no, it doesn't kill you), fat (diets low in saturated fats do not make you live longer), cholesterol (it's not bad for you), and  skipping breakfast does not make you fat - it helps you lose weight.

Nicotine is no more dangerous to health than coffee, but 90 percent of the public still consider it harmful, according to a report from the U.K.’s Royal Society for Public Health.
The study heaps praise on e-cigarettes with the chief executive of the RSPH, Shirley Cramer commenting “getting people on to nicotine rather than using tobacco would make a big difference to the public’s health."
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that simulate smoking by heating e-liquids allowing users to inhale nicotine vapor. The RSPH, however, doesn’t disregard all concerns surrounding nicotine addiction. It argues instead that nicotine substitutes like e-cigarettes are far more preferable to regular tobacco.
“Clearly there are issues in terms of having smokers addicted to nicotine but this would move us on from having a serious and costly public health issue from smoking-related disease to instead address the issue of addiction to a substance which in and of itself is not too dissimilar to caffeine addiction,” said Cramer.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sanders: I'll fight hardest to end racism...

...says the man who lives in a state with only 10,919 black residents and the second lowest black population in the US.

I suppose that's one way to end racism....

For more go here

Well this makes my mind up on the Iran deal

Rev. Al Sharpton will push America’s black churches to lobby in favor of the Iran nuclear deal, a new report says.

Sharpton is launching his push backing President Obama’s pact with Tehran this weekend, according to The Huffington Post.

“I am calling on ministers in black churches nationwide to go to their pulpits Sunday and have their parishioners call their senators and congressmen to vote yes on the Iran nuclear plan,” he said Friday...
 For more go here

Friday, August 14, 2015

This video reminds me of the total confidence politicians have they can fix things

One man's "manipulation" is another man's "monetary policy"


 Despite all of the hand-wringing and angst about China’s currency recent devaluation, almost every major currency in the world including the pound (-7%), euro (-18%), Canadian dollar (-20%), yen (-21%) and peso -24%) have been “devalued” more against the US dollar over the last year than the Chinese yuan (only -4%). As Swift Economics sums it up nicely on Twitter today,  “Amazing how China’s currency management is “manipulation” while other central banks [including the US] carry out “monetary policy.”
Carpe Diem 

Server-gate. Sadly it reads like a cheap spy novel

From Instapundit:


Hillary will be totally blackmail-able if elected. Here’s the logic:

1. It’s safe to say that there were things on that server which could cause Hillary tremendous harm politically – which is why she destroyed the evidence that would have been exculpatory if you believed her explanation. In my mind, it’s also why she used a private server to begin with.

2. She is lying about what was on that server, potentially to include while under oath in her upcoming congressional testimony.

3. If someone had all the copies of her emails and those of her staff, they could readily blackmail her because of the above. They’d have proof of her wrongdoing and her lying about it.

4. Hillary Clinton, as both a future Presidential candidate and a sitting Sec. of State would have been one of the Top 100 intelligence targets in the world and probably one of the top 10.

5. It’s thus certain that the Chinese and Russians would each have had a team focused on accessing her communications.

6. Every security expert I know of has said it’s a virtual certainty the Chinese and Russians both gained access to her server and all her emails. From what I know about their capabilities, I’d agree.

There are probably a bunch of folks in China and Russia who are praying (even if they’re atheists) for Hillary to be elected. If she wins, they own the President of the United States. I can just imagine in a meeting with Putin, Hillary being told to back off supporting Ukraine or he’ll release her emails (as he hands her a folder containing the most damaging ones for her to peruse). Put in that position, would Hillary fall on her sword or sacrifice a country like Ukraine? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t want to be living in Ukraine…

Someone with that kind of vulnerability to blackmail shouldn’t be allowed to sweep the floors of the NSA, much less run our country.