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How Far From Home Do You Let Your Kids Play? July 23, 2011

Posted by geoff in News.

The Daily Mirror had a little article about the generational differences in the leash given to children at play. The grandmother, now 56, used to range up to 5 miles from home. The mother (36), only 1 mile. The daughter (9) must play within eyesight of her mother. This, despite the fact that the probability of abduction is very, very small.

Similarly, the NYT recently wrote about playground safety, noting that safety nazis are undermining the point of playgrounds.

The old tall jungle gyms and slides disappeared from most American playgrounds across the country in recent decades because of parental concerns, federal guidelines, new safety standards set by manufacturers and — the most frequently cited factor — fear of lawsuits.

Shorter equipment with enclosed platforms was introduced, and the old pavement was replaced with rubber, wood chips or other materials designed for softer landings.

Fortunately there are sane voices starting to be heard:

“Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground,” said Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway.

“Climbing equipment needs to be high enough, or else it will be too boring in the long run,” Dr. Sandseter said. “Children approach thrills and risks in a progressive manner, and very few children would try to climb to the highest point for the first time they climb. The best thing is to let children encounter these challenges from an early age, and they will then progressively learn to master them through their play over the years.”

Playground play teaches important life skills (from American Gladiators)

As we insulate our children more and more from life’s perils, we can expect a fundamental change in the way they view and interact with the world. We are sacrificing their self-reliance, courage, and initiative for our peace of mind.

CBO Sez: Obama Kilt Us July 22, 2011

Posted by geoff in News.

I was reading through the CBO’s July 14 report, succinctly titled, “The Macroeconomic and Budgetary Effects of an Illustrative Policy for Reducing the Federal Budget Deficit.” But getting past the title is worth it. Basically the document answers this question (though it’s a pretty crude analysis):

What effect would reducing deficit spending by $2 trillion over the next 10 years have on the economy?

And the answer is:

  • The GNP would be boosted by 1% in 2021
  • The cumulative deficits would be reduced by an additional $185 billion as the economy improves
  • We’d pay $400 billion less in interest over those 10 years
  • Adding it all up, the cumulative deficits would be reduced by $2.6 trillion

What’s the down side? Well, in the near term (the first 3 years), the economy would be suppressed, since the government wouldn’t be propping it up with so much deficit spending. By 2015, though, the long-term benefits cancel out the short-term penalties, and after that the situation just keeps getting better.

The moral of the story is: If you just take your medicine in the early years, life gets much better a bit later.

Which brings us to the present administration’s budgets. If Obama had kept his deficit spending at Bush’s level, he would have spent $2 trillion less over the past 2 years. So just put a minus sign in front of all those benefits listed above, and that’s what the Obama budgets have cost us so far.

The growth penalty is particularly bothersome – we don’t need to lose 1% of GDP in 2019 (10 years after his first budget). So although the CBO didn’t say it explicitly, you can just reverse their conclusions and realize that we’ll be suffering from the economic damage Obama has caused for a generation.

Yup, he done kilt us.

Getting Back Online and Doing Some Learning July 21, 2011

Posted by geoff in News.

Not having posted regularly since April, I’m a little pent up. I finally decided that though I can’t rationalize spending time on blogging, I really don’t enjoy life as much without it. So I’m kind of back, I think.

It was a miracle that I stayed away as long as I did. One thing that helped a lot was the Khan Academy. It’s a very cool site filled with 10 – 25 minute video tutorials on a variety of academic subjects (mostly math, science, and economics, so far). Over 2400 videos, all completely free.

Most of the vids are at the upper high school/lower college level. So far I’ve had no problem finding plenty of tutorials that fill in little gaps in my education, and I’m looking forward to learning new material, such as his series on banking and finance.

The fellow who started the academy (Salman Khan) makes all the videos himself. He does a great job, though you can get a little tired of his voice after an hour. The YouTube video below comes from a recent TED lecture where he introduces himself and the Academy.

So if you’d like to feel like the Internet isn’t a completely unproductive time sink, munch down one or two of these videos every day.

Killing Economic Recovery, Obama-Style July 21, 2011

Posted by geoff in News.

The Initial Unemployment Claims data for last week was released by the Department of Labor today. Claims were up . . . “unexpectedly.”

While unemployment is usually considered to be a lagging economic indicator, I believe that the initial claims data gives you an up-to-date measure of what’s currently happening in the employment market. But it doesn’t help if you don’t look at the long-term trends, which the media never does. So here’s a chart:

As you can see, we’ve been through 4 different periods of improvement and stalls. Right now we’re in the middle of some doldrums, which is delaying our recovery indefinitely. You may wonder, “What happened?” “Why does the rate of improvement keep faltering?”

Well, I’ve got me some theories:


Hey Now . . . July 21, 2011

Posted by Michael in Music.

I’ll bet you forgot this song.  The chord sequence and harmonics are unusual for a popular hit song.  Here’s the farewell performance.

That building you see at the beginning which looks like white sails is the performance hall at Sydney Harbor.

Curiously, the lyrics to this song almost sound to me like an anthem for the Tea Party movement.

When You’re Holding a Hammer July 19, 2011

Posted by Retired Geezer in Crime, Law, Politics.

A Tea Party Republican, football coach in Tennessee was fired for writing a Conservative song.

Twenty-six-year-old Bryan Glover is a Christian who co-wrote a song called “When You’re Holding a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail,” which takes a dig at the current administration and what he believes to be the wrong moves for the U.S.

He sent a link to his song to everyone in his personal e-mail inbox, which included parents from Grassland Middle School, where he coached football.

Here’s his website: http://holdingahammer.com/

Go buy a T-Shirt

By The Way . . . July 16, 2011

Posted by Michael in Science.

The telephone business isn’t what it used to be.  I spent 28 years in this industry.

Who would have imagined this, ten years ago?:

Thanks to ScottW.

Why The Girls Always Go For The Drummer July 16, 2011

Posted by Michael in Man Laws, Music.

Because they are just the coolest and hardest working guy in the band, that’s why.  Dave is right about drummers always getting the girls.  He’s bitter, but he’s right.

If you get bored, at least skip forward for the showmanship at around 6:35 and 7:12.

Thanks to ScottW for the link.

I have a plan July 15, 2011

Posted by Pupster in News.

to revive Innocent Bystanders.


That should do it.

All We Are Sayin’ July 12, 2011

Posted by Michael in Politics.

You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one

Pic swiped from American Thinker.  Hat tip to Teresa in Fort Worth in the comments at The Hostages for the link.

Needless to say, the if you sell peas for a living, it’s hard to put a positive face on this.

Message to President Obama: give peas a chance.

That’s the reaction of the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council to the president’s urging of budget negotiators to make the difficult choices necessary to reach a “grand bargain” to raise the nation’s debt limit.

 . . .

“It’s not going to get easier, it’s going to get harder. So we might as well do it now; pull off the Band-aid, eat our peas,” Obama said at a White House news conference.

A spokesman for the pea council said it wasn’t interpreting the remarks in a negative context.

“We take President Obama’s comment on the need to ‘eat our peas’ as a reference to the first lady’s push to get all Americans to eat a more healthy diet as part of the Let’s Move campaign,” Pete Klaiber, the council’s director of marketing.

“We know that if tasty and nutritious meals featuring peas are served more frequently in the White House and in the cafeterias of both Houses of Congress, it will contribute to a balanced diet, if not a balanced budget.”

LA Times.

Gun Safety Video July 11, 2011

Posted by Retired Geezer in Ballistics, Family, Gardening.

For all you Chimpanzee owners, (I’m looking at you, Wiserbud), here’s a good safety video.

Summary Added:

Lance, Jason and Ken were on a camping trip with some friends when Connor had the unfortunate idea to hand a loaded AK-47 to a passing ape.

Hilarity ensues.


Thank You, America July 9, 2011

Posted by Michael in Family.

From the shuttle close-out crew.

A moving moment by people who are finding new jobs, but pause to remember that this nation is great.