Do the Math, AP November 30, 2012Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far
The AP puts a nice spin on the CBO’s extension of unemployment benefits report with this cheery title:
Extending the current level of long-term unemployment benefits for another year would add 300,000 jobs to the economy, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office.
But everything has a price, and extending those benefits will cost us a cool $30 billion. For one year.
The analysis released Wednesday from the nonpartisan office estimates that keeping jobless benefits would cost the government $30 billion. But it would also lead to more spending by the unemployed, boosting demand for goods and services and creating new jobs.
Hint to AP reporters: there’s this cool mathematical trick called “division,” and this “division” can tell us how much money it will cost us per job. And the answer is….
But it gets worse.
That 300,000 jobs number only applies to the fourth quarter of 2013, and it’s that high due to some sort of time period futzing the CBO did. Their real rule of thumb is that for every $1,000,000 of unemployment benefits, we’ll get 6 jobs. So, once again using this mysterious “division” legerdemain, we can figure out what we should expect, on average, as opposed to their cherry-picked 4th Quarter. And that answer is……
Which means that on average we’ll get an extra 180K jobs in 2013. Which is what we’d get from one decent month of job creation.
Of course these jobs are a bonus – after all, the primary goal of unemployment benefits is to keep people fed. But the economic stimulus portion of unemployment insurance seems vastly overrated. Especially when the CBO admits it hasn’t included the cost of servicing the additional debt, and they never include the impact of government borrowing on the availability of capital for private enterprise.
The humanitarian argument for extending unemployment benefits is fairly strong, but the economic stimulus argument is laughable.
People are Awesome November 30, 2012Posted by Retired Geezer in Gardening, Man Laws.
You should probably watch this in full-screen.
Yif Loves Him Some Bread November 29, 2012Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far
The Daily Caller brings us Yif, a Taiwanese magician:
Taiwanese magician “Yif Magic” makes bread grow out of his hands. French croissants and baguettes, no less. It’s really fun to watch if you aren’t initially creeped out by the image of baked goods shooting out from his limbs.
(Head to 2:45 for the beginning of the bread act in general. Of particular note, 4:20 marks the beginning of the signature trick in which Yif materializes a massive baguette from his hand.)
If you’re in a hurry, just skip to 4:20 and turn down the overly dramatic background music.
Gratuitous “Babes at a Chinese Car Show” Post November 29, 2012Posted by geoff in News.
[Many more photos at the link]
Evan Sayet Has a Book Out November 29, 2012Posted by geoff in News.
If you don’t remember who he is, take a gander at his talk from 5 years ago:
Getting Them de Tocqueville Blues November 29, 2012Posted by geoff in News.
Ultimaratioregis over at xBradTC’s blog reminds us of de Tocqueville’s observations from nearly 180 years ago:
(Niall) Ferguson contrasts the American and French Revolutions, not fifteen years apart, yet so fundamentally different in character and outcome. For this, he evokes none other than Alexis de Tocqueville:
There were, Tocqueville argues, five fundamental differences between the two societies, and therefore between the two revolutions they produced. First, France was increasingly centralized, whereas America was a naturally federal state, with a lively provincial associational life and civil society. Second, the French tended to elevate the general will above the letter of the law, a tendency resisted by America’s powerful legal profession. Third, the French revolutionaries attacked religion and the church that upheld it, whereas American sectarianism provided a bulwark against the pretensions of secular authorities. Fourth, the French ceded too much power to irresponsible intellectuals, whereas in America practical men reigned supreme. Finally, and most important to Tocqueville, the French put equality above liberty.
There’s more in his post at xBrad’s blog, if you’re up for some serious melancholy.
The Crap Tree November 27, 2012Posted by daveintexas in Personal Experiences.
[Note by Michael: It has become a tradition at Innocent Bystanders to annually republish the first-ever blog post by Dave in Texas during the Christmas season. Dave's story has become a classic tale of Christmas cheer and the endurance of traditions. This is the original version, which actually predates the founding of Innocent Bystanders in 2006. Except I have greatly improved it by centering the pictures.]
Several years ago my wife conceived a plan to take over Christmas decorations in our home. She’s been very patient, moving so carefully that I only realized the scope of her plan this year. This fight isn’t over, not by a long shot. But I’ve lost a lot of ground.
I am what you would call a ‘Christmas kind of guy’. I love Christmas. I love the lights and the pretty packages, the wreaths, the greenery hanging everywhere. I like Christmas plates and coffee cups. Christmas cookies, Christmas music, Christmas towels in the bathrooms, Christmas napkins, Christmas movies and books, if they had Christmas toilet paper I would buy two cases (does anybody know if they make that?). I think Christmas lights on pickup trucks look terrific.
I really dig Christmas.
As soon as the clutter is cleaned away from the Thanksgiving feast, I’m up in the attic getting boxes down. I know where every one of them is, and I pretty much know what’s inside of them. Not because I pack them up every January (that always makes me sad). I suppose it’s just that we tend to use the same boxes for things. You could sum up my taste in Christmas decorations in one phrase. Colored lights. Yes, like the late Michael Kelly wrote on the topic of Christmas lights, there are white light people, and colored light people. I’m in the second group. Years ago I conceded the inevitability of teeny lights taking over. I gave up trying to find strings of lights with those big painted bulbs that burned your fingers. I miss them, but I understand. Technology changes things. But even if they’re teeny, I have to have colored lights. This theme extends to other decorations.
I have an affinity for Christmas-schlock. The cheesier the better. A dancing Santa Claus with an electric guitar and sunglasses? Oh yes. Strings of lights that look like jalapenos? Lovely. Elves laid out in a winter North Pole Office Party display, holding little cans of Bud Light while singing drunken Christmas tunes? I am so there. And you have guessed the dark secret of Christmas in our home. My wife is not a colored lights kind of person. She is a white lights gal. I don’t blame her, taste is subjective, right? Eye of the beholder and all that. We can coexist. We can cooperate, compromise, a little give here, a little take there. We’ll find a way to get along. You know, the Russkies and the Americans. Detente baby.
limited edition strat and twin reverb amp ornament
Well, I was wrong so I didn’t see it coming. It started with a new Christmas tree. She brought it home a few years ago. It’s bigger than our old tree. 10 feet. It’s frickin ginormous! Me, I’m all excited. What could be better than one Christmas tree? Two trees! Oh yeah, two sets of lights and ornaments and glitter, extra room for more presents. This will be so cool! I set the new tree up first. In the formal dining room, right there in the front window where everyone can see it. We decided the older tree would be just fine in the family room, we moved some things around and set it up there. Looked just fine. I didn’t even notice when my wife pulled the strings of white lights out that something was amiss. ‘Sure’, I thought, ‘woo… fan-cee’. What the heck. White lights on the new tree.
Then I noticed we had packages (really nice packages, you know, the kind of shopping bags you keep cause they’re so pretty?) with more ornaments in them. Impressive looking ornaments too, glass and crystal and gold. Wow. But hey, 10 foot tree, sure, we’ll need more stuff to put on it. It was when I reached into a box to pull out my favorite lights, the string of little Fender Telecasters, and headed for the new tree, that the plan in its entirety was revealed to me. She said ‘STOP right there!’ evenly spacing her words using a tone of voice that said I should seriously consider stopping right there. ‘There will be none of that on this tree’, she said. Same tone. I said what most husbands say when they are confronted with possible wrongdoing. ‘Wh-a-a-at?’ Real slowly, dumb-like. ‘No guitar lights. No old pictures. No jalapenos’ she said.
And she was deadly serious. She looked right at me and announced ‘this is the ‘nice tree’’.
The Nice Tree™. In the front room, prominently displayed in the big window. I looked around. The other decorations in the room began to make sense to me. The special Christmas china was set on the formal table. The expensive candle holders on the table by the entry, with long tapered white candles in them, you know, the kind you can’t get at Wal-Mart (10 for .55 cents). And then I understood. This room, was going to be ‘pretty’. Like a Christmas display at some expensive store on 5th Avenue, the ones whose names I can’t pronounce correctly. I looked at what was now my tree. Guitar lights. Ornaments from Fender. The decorations my kids made in Sunday school with funny shaped noodles and gold spray paint. Popsicle sticks and yarn and pictures. Hidden in the family room where no eye shall be offended. No one can see it.
I began calling my tree the “Crap Tree”.
The Nice Tree has gold swirly things on it, and a special tree skirt thingy made of silk and shiny stuff. It’s really pretty. It looks like something you would find in one of those stores in Salado. The Crap Tree has an old skirt made of something that looks like shag carpet. It has a pattern that sort of resembles a Christmas tree, at least, the way a Christmas tree looks to a myopic drunk. In a moment of weakness my brother in law crocheted it for us. It’s been more than 15 years and I still kick his ass about that.
easy to spot boxes
I am not allowed to put my special guitar ornaments on the Nice Tree. Who am I kidding? I’m not allowed to put anything on the Nice Tree. Every now and then, I sneak one on it when no one is looking. It doesn’t matter. My oldest daughter finds it and moves it back. At lease I’m not completely alone in my fight, my youngest daughter will take one of my ornaments and sneak it back on the nice tree. Occasionally sibling rivalry will overcome their natural tendency to gang up on you because of gender affiliation. Which is nice.
The Crap Tree has lights on it from The Hard Rock Café. I think those are my favorite, although the lights that look like jalapenos are a close second. Ever since my wife debuted the Nice Tree, Christmas in our house has been looking a little different. The living room is starting to spread out. Our old Frosty the Snowman and Christmas tree hand towels we used to put in the guest bathroom have been replaced with much prettier hand towels. None of us is allowed to touch them. You wash your hands in this bathroom, you better wipe them off on your blue jeans. My ‘singing Santa’ with the electric guitar and the sunglasses is now back in my bedroom on the dresser. The battery has been removed.
This year I couldn’t find the Drunken Office Party Elves. My wife says she has no idea what happened to them. She says it in a way that makes me think she knows exactly what happened to them, and I will never see them again.
Olive, the other reindeer
So I know what I’m up against. Soon, next year, or maybe the one after that, I will find myself engaged in a desperate battle, a last stand in front of my dearest Christmas decoration, the Crap Tree.
She may relent. The Crap Tree has ornaments that have all our Christmas memories on it, 22 years worth. Decorations we bought when we spent our first Christmas together. Things our friends gave to us. Decorations that her students gave to her. Special ornaments with years on them from Christmases past that go back before our kids were born. Pictures of the girls when they were little in red and white Christmas dresses, hugging Santa and telling him how good they had been this year. So long ago, before cars and boys and college. Every now and then I find a little bit of attic insulation in one of the branches, from a Christmas years ago when I slipped in the overhead and put my foot through the ceiling, right over the tree. The youngest looked up and said ‘Mommy, it’s Santa’! I think she was 4.
I love the Crap Tree. It is an old friend. It’s the decoration in our house that says “Christmas” to me, and I hope it always will.
Hey guess where this is?
A gift from the Geoffs. Proudly displayed.
slice of life November 26, 2012Posted by digitalbrownshirt in Crime, Family, Personal Experiences, Stupid shit, WTF?.
I came home from lunch Sunday and found my youngest son wearing a pair of these:
Me: “Um, what are they?” (in my head, it sounded like WTF?)
Oldest son: “His gay shoes.”
Youngest son: “They’re for running.”
Me, after a pause: “Like outside? You wear them in public?”
Youngest son: “Yeah, they’re good for circulation.”
He’s a diabetic, so circulation’s a big deal, but I kind of felt like he checkmated me with the circulation comment, because I was ready to give him a bad time on the goofy shoes. Apparently they’re kind of a big deal, but I’d never heard of them before yesterday.
I feel like I get older everytime I talk to that kid.
Worst Phishing Attempt Ever November 25, 2012Posted by Michael in News.
Ms. Notafraid is just not in the same league as the average Nigerian fraudster. Amazingly, this email actually made it through my spam filter.
Sun, November 25, 2012 10:07:55 AM
UNDP Foundation Grant.
[My name is missing!]
UNDP Foundation Grant.
UNDP Grant Donation FORWARD THIS MAIL TO (firstname.lastname@example.org) FOR PROOF OF CLAIM
You have been awarded a Grant Sum of £500,000.00 GBP (Five Hundred Thousand Pounds) from the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) with Qualification numbers (UNF/FBF-826-1619 G-924-94).
You are to Forward this email to the United Nations for claims procedure.
Mr. Ban ki-moon
You might receive this message in your spam or junk folder depends on your web host.
On behalf of the Board,
United Nations Foundation UK.
Ban Ki-Moon is the current Secretary General of the United Nations, which means this grant award must be legit. Anybody want to claim it on my behalf?
Black Ops 2 on Black Friday November 23, 2012Posted by digitalbrownshirt in Art, Ducks, Entertainment, Man Laws, Personal Experiences, Pop Culture, Stupid shit, Technology.
Brewfan, Retired Geezer and I are going to try playing Black Ops together tonight. If anybody else out there would like to get in with us I’ll be on around 9pm CST on Xbox Live. Send me a friend request with the words “Innocent Bystanders” in it if you want to join us. I like Domination, Hardpoint, and Headquarters, but I’m pretty sure we can be flexible about what gametypes we play.
My user name is “AKA The Seeker”.
Yes, it’s my favorite song by The Who.
Happy Thanksgiving November 22, 2012Posted by digitalbrownshirt in Family, Food, History, Humor, Religion.
We were so close to the best Thanksgiving in at least 4 years.