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Huh March 26, 2014

Posted by Sobek in News.
14 comments

You know what isn’t news?  Politicians acting like hypocrites.  Certainly not news.  But how about this: hypocritical politician actually gets in trouble for his hypocrisy.

A liberal Democrat getting busted, in San Francisco, and actually paying a penalty?  Stranger and stranger, indeed.  This guy liked him some gun control legislation, and then got arrested for illegal arms dealing.  Huh.

“A man was charged last year for threatening Yee over legislation that he proposed to limit rapid reloading of assault weapons. The bill would have prohibited the use of devices that allow users to swiftly reload military-style assault weapons. Lee also authored legislation that that would have required the state to study safe storage of firearms.”

And …

“A longtime California politician who was praised for his efforts to make government more transparent and authored gun control legislation was arrested Wednesday, accused of conspiracy to deal firearms and wire fraud.”

Huh.

Something New March 23, 2014

Posted by Retired Geezer in Economics, Music.
12 comments

This is the neatest video I’ve seen all week.

 

A Little Amusement for a Busy Thursday March 20, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
7 comments

This was pretty good: 77 Facts That Sound Like Huge Lies But Are Actually Completely True

The first four:

1. If you put your finger in your ear and scratch, it sounds just like Pac-Man.
2. The YKK on your zipper stands for “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikigaisha.”
3. Maine is the closest U.S. state to Africa.
4. Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barbara Walters were born in the same year, 1929.

Cereal ~ The Movie March 18, 2014

Posted by Retired Geezer in Family, Food.
6 comments

Trix are for Kids.

 

From the “Better Late than Never” Department March 17, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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“It’s time to realize that Vladimir Putin can’t be trusted”

You don’t say. Somebody hasn’t been hearing the klaxons from the internet for the past 8? 10? years.

Super Bowl XLVIII Reprise March 17, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far

sam-photo-u1It’s taken 6 weeks for me to get over the Super Bowl debacle that so badly embarrassed my Denver Broncos and their fans. I think it’s a sign of the healing process that I can now look at links like this without making a tear:

The 59 Hottest Cheerleaders of Super Bowl XLVIII

I don’t know where I am in the Kubler-Ross grieving sequence, but I’d guess it’s somewhere between “Scoping” and “Humina Huminaing.”

Robert Reich’s Meandering Piehole March 17, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
5 comments

Robert Reich, he who has made a career of gang aft agley, pipes up with another steaming helping of his near-DRBC* rhetoric:

It’s often assumed that people are paid what they’re worth. According to this logic, minimum wage workers aren’t worth more than the $7.25 an hour they now receive. If they were worth more, they’d earn more. Any attempt to force employers to pay them more will only kill jobs.

“Paid-what-you’re-worth” is a dangerous myth.

Fifty years ago, when General Motors was the largest employer in America, the typical GM worker got paid $35 an hour in today’s dollars. Today, America’s largest employer is Walmart, and the typical Walmart workers earns $8.80 an hour.

He explains that this unjust situation has come about because GM workers have union clout, while Walmart workers are non-union victims of eeevil executives. But his statement raised a lot of questions for me, questions like:

  • So why isn’t GM the largest employer in America today? Maybe it’s because GM’s share of vehicle sales in the US dropped from 50% in the 60’s to 26% in 2005, due in part to its unsustainable compensation packages. Or maybe it’s because GM now outsources 2/3 of its jobs to avoid those marvelous union-enhanced wages. The fact that the unions have severely damaged the automobile manufacturing sector doesn’t reflect well on Reich’s argument.
  • Why would anyone compare one company’s autoworkers’ salaries from 50 years ago to a different company’s retail salaries today? This is called fruit bowl analysis (at least by me, since this morning): cherrypicking data to compare yesterday’s apples to today’s oranges. If you compare autoworkers’ salaries in 1964 ($137.25/week) to wages for Retail Trade: Limited Price Variety Stores ($39.17/week), you find a 3.5X difference. Reich’s difference was 4X. So almost 90% of the time-warped wage disparity that Reich blames on Walmart actually existed in 1964.
  • Wouldn’t it be better to compare entry-level salaries for the two completely different types of jobs today (not that that makes any sense, either)? It would be slightly better, but his point would be greatly diminished. An entry-level Walmart employee makes minimum wage ($7.25/hr). An entry-level worker at GM makes just under $16/hr, dropping his 4X difference to 2X. And is that 2X due to unions or to the difference in jobs?
  • Why didn’t Reich simply compare today’s salaries of non-union and union autoworkers? I mean, doesn’t that get directly to the “plight of the non-unionized victim of rapacious management” story that Reich is trying to sell? Well, here’s a comparison of the two types of autoworkers: “Average labor costs — wages and benefits — for the unionized Detroit automakers and nonunion Toyota’s U.S. plants are about the same at $55 an hour, according to the Center for Automotive Research. But the rest pay less; nonunion Honda pays about $50 an hour. Nissan, Hyundai and Kia are at about $45.” Pretty small differences once you start comparing today’s apples to today’s apples.

I don’t know why Reich decided to make such an idiotic comparison between two completely dissimilar statistics – his data for the “myth” evaporates when you do a fair comparison. But nor do I know why he then wandered off into a diatribe against bankers unfairly benefiting from quantitative easing (somehow transitioning from salary disparities at the largest employers in the country to undeserved bonuses among a small group of managers). Not that I disagree – there’s little question in my mind that the $240/citizen/month of QE3 funding would have done far better being distributed in the population than concentrated in increasing the wealth of the banks and their beneficiaries.

Maybe he just wanted to get one thing kind of right.

*Dirty Rat Bastard Commie

From the “Angels Fear to Click Through” Department March 15, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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Man, famous for 132-pound scrotum, dies at 49

12th Annual Waikiki Spam Jam March 15, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
15 comments

Did not know there was such a thing, but what could be better than celebrating Spam on a May day in Hawaii?

The Waikiki SPAM JAM® is a street festival that celebrates the people of Hawaii’s love for SPAM®, a canned meat from Hormel Foods. In Hawaii, you will find SPAM® at all grocery and convenience stores, many restaurants and in most homes in Hawaii.

This street festival is great for all ages, as the event includes Hawaii’s top restaurants, two stages with free entertainment, and a variety of Hawaiian retailers. This is also a special event that benefits the Hawaii Foodbank, the largest non-profit in Hawaii that feeds the needy.

Please take a look around our website for more information on this annual cultural tradition in Hawaii.

Replete with Hawaiian babeage (and some unfortunate babeage blockers):

SpamJam

Seems like an obvious choice for the next Meatup.

If you can’t make it to Hawaii, you can always enjoy the rich heritage of Spam right here in the US of A. Here’s my kids doing that very thing over a decade ago:

The Kids and Mr Spam

Yes, those cherubs certainly do enjoy indulging their father’s whims.

S. Weasel Strikes Again March 13, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
6 comments

You must, simply must, check out SWeasel’s campaign poster for Hilary!. Make sure you click through for the whole image (not just the eyes).

Happy March 11, 2014

Posted by Retired Geezer in Economics, Family.
13 comments

Here’s something that just might make you smile.

 

Employment Situation Through February 2014 – No Change From January March 7, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
8 comments

No time for data-mining or much in the way of analysis this morning, but I thought I’d at least try to update the full-time employment chart I’ve been posting every month. As usual all the data comes from the Bureau of Labor Standard’s Household Survey.

FullTimeEmpvsCivPopMar2014

February had almost exactly the same value as January, so no progress on employment this month.