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Depressing Quote for the Weekend April 29, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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“So the final conclusion would surely be that whereas other civilizations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense. Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, labored with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over–a weary, battered old brontosaurus–and became extinct.”
Malcolm Muggeridge, Vintage Muggeridge: Religion and Society

Posted after reading this:

Catholic College Employee Investigated By Police For Saying There Are Only Two Genders

Forbidden Planet Meets Trump April 29, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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Forbidden Planet is a sci-fi classic, and the origin of the pop culture references, “Monster(s) from the Id,” and “Krell Metal.” Hope n’ Change Cartoons made an amusing Trump cartoon using Forbidden Planet as a backdrop. But the Trump part hardly matters, cuz’ hey! Forbidden Planet!!

Cutting Through the President’s Employment BS April 29, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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We’re a week out from the Bureau of Labor Standard’s Employment Situation Report, which gives the latest unemployment numbers. As always, I’ll be plotting up the results using my own metric (full-time jobs divided by civilian population) for assessing the health of the job market. Last month it looked like this:


But why, you may fairly ask, do you have your own metric? Why not just use the BLS’s metrics, like the U-3 number or the U-6 number?

Well, it all started back 2010, when I realized that the number of people leaving the job market was grossly distorting job numbers. In addition, a shift from full-time to part-time jobs was making the job numbers look better than they actually were. My metric accounts for both those effects.

I’m mentioning this now because of today’s post at Investor’s Business Daily, which talks about the inadequacy of the metrics touted by President Obama in his delusional statements about the miracles he has wrought with the economy:

Obama talks about 14.4 million new jobs since 2010, without noting that working age population grew by 15.8 million over those same months.

He touts the 5% unemployment rate, but fails to mention that it would be more like 10% if millions of Americans hadn’t given up looking for work altogether.

The president is fond of citing these cherry-picked statistics – one of his favorites is talking about consecutive months of job growth, which is completely meaningless. But whenever he trumpets these misleading and self-serving statistics, I think that a quick glance at the chart above will help cut through the confusion and give you a fair and more accurate impression of where the job market really is.

And, as you can tell, it’s still years away from complete recovery.

Marriage Counseling, Saudi Arabian Style April 28, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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Always thought of Saudi Arabia as one of the more enlightened Middle Eastern countries, and I can see that it’s true:

A Muslim family therapist in Saudi Arabia, Khaled Al-Saqaby, posted a video in which he gives advice on “wife beating,” explains that the “necessary Islamic conditions for beating must be met,” and shows that husbands must not use a long wooden rod to beat their wife but instead use a tooth-cleaning twig or handkerchief.

See? Enlightened.

But some of you doubters may ask, what would bring a husband to the point of beating his wife at all? Well, need you ask? It’s all her fault, of course:

“Undoubtedly, some of the causes pertain to the wife,” said Khaled Al-Saqaby.  “Let me mention two of the many causes. The first is arguments between the wife and her husband. Unfortunately, some wives want to live a life of equality with their husband. A life of equality – you do something and I’ll do the same. This is a very grave problem.”

“In addition,” he said, “sometimes a woman makes mistakes that might lead her husband to beat her. I’m sad to say that there are some women who say, ‘Go ahead, if you are a real man, beat me.’ She provokes him.”

And that right there is Love, Arabian Style.

“Most Peaceful Era,” Cont’d April 28, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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The president and many liberal commentators are fond of pooh-poohing Americans concerns with terrorism, insisting that the odds of death by terrorism are very low – smaller by far than the risk of an automobile accident, for instance. But there are two reasons that comparison is specious:

First, there’s a big difference between living with risks due to chance (i.e., accidents or disease) and living with a threat by someone who has clearly stated that they will do everything in their power to convert you, subjugate you, or kill you. In the latter case, you know that your survival depends only on their lack of capability. Should they gain the capability, the resultant tragedy would dwarf all those other random causes of death. So comparing current terrorism deaths to accident statistics is short-sighted and meaningless.

Second, while Americans have fared better vis-a-vis terrorism than other countries, we have been admonished to “Think Globally, Act Locally.” So looking at global terrorism statistics, we’re not happy to see trends like this:

Terrorist Attacks

While accidental deaths have been declining for decades, global terrorism has skyrocketed. That leads one to believe that hiding behind today’s statistics for Americans is folly. And it’s remarkable to me that our betters are trying to comfort us by only considering American deaths. Seems like people from other countries don’t matter to them, and that’s racist.

The president just told us that we’re living in the “most peaceful era” in human history. But as we saw a couple of days ago, Iraqis would disagree.

As would victims of terrorism worldwide.

Finally, A Diet I Can Live With April 27, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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Ha!! They called me crazy, but I knew I was on to something!

When it comes to health benefits and alcohol, antioxidant-rich red wine is usually the drink drawing all the praise.

But beer — carbs and calories notwithstanding — also has its upsides, with studies showing the beverage can help prevent kidney stones, strengthen bones, and aid your digestive system.

Now, scientists have discovered another health advantage in your brew: A compound called xanthohumol, a flavonoid naturally found in hops, can be a boon for weight loss and may help scientists create a novel approach to addressing obesity. Tests have also shown xanthohumol can lower cholesterol and blood-sugar levels.

Bwahaha!! Beer! Is there anything it can’t do!?!

But there’s one leetle glitch:

To derive any benefits of xanthohumol from beer, you’d have to do the impossible and guzzle 3,500 pints per day.

Impossible? Probably. But a man has to have goals.

Mother’s Day Fashion April 26, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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Hmmmmm . . . Mother’s Day is coming up. What would Mom like?

Maybe an Alien facehugger ski mask? I think that says, “Thanks, Mom, for all you are and all you’ve done for me.”

Only $30 at Mondo.

A “Peaceful Era” That Isn’t April 26, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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With our misguided president telling us that we’re living in the “most peaceful era in human history,” perhaps now is a good time to revisit the statistics on civilian casualties in Iraq:

Graph from Iraq Body Count


An odd sort of peace, no? And that increase in civilian deaths since 2012? Pretty much the fault of one man.

Yeah, I’m looking at you, Mr. President.

Cool Clouds April 24, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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Back from another spate of traveling, but haven’t settled in yet. So instead of a wonderful chart, I give you clouds, Hong Kong style:

Harriet Tubman on the 20 April 20, 2016

Posted by Retired Geezer in Economics, Science.
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As Iowahawk tweeted:

Breaking: Treasury throws founder of the Democratic Party off $20 bill, replaces with gun-toting Republican

Here’s the for-real history.

Coolest Chart I’ve Seen in a While April 16, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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Compare the spending increases of the different-flavored Congresses (from Forbes):

Federal Welfare, Soc Services, & SNAP Spending 1959 to 2014

And Speaking of Transfer Payments April 15, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.
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In the previous post I noted that transfer payments are skyrocketing, which is reducing the services that are available to the taxpayer. That leads naturally to the question: how much good are those transfer payments doing?

Well, here’s another view of how much we spend on people receiving transfer payments:

That’s inflation adjusted, and it still shows nearly a 4X increase in payments per person over the 40 years covered by the chart.

Compare that to the poverty rate:


Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. In 1972 the poverty rate was about 12%. In 2012, with a 4X increase in spending per person (from the previous chart), the poverty rate had increased to 15%.

Seems like dealing with poverty might require something of a shift in strategy.