jump to navigation

White House Spin Machine Tries Again May 24, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
add a comment

So the White House is trying to find something, anything, to crow about concerning the economy. Here’s their latest effort:

The White House released a report Tuesday to show that President Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief measure of 2021, which is now being blamed for record-high inflation, has succeeded — especially by helping Black people and Hispanic people get jobs and keep their homes.

“This is the most equitable recovery in terms of jobs and employment that we have ever seen. This was by design,” a senior White House official told reporters in a conference call on Monday.

Unemployment among Black people saw the biggest calendar-year drop — 2.9 percentage points — since 1983 and is now lower than pre-pandemic levels at 5.9%, the report said.

I think every racial category probably saw the biggest drop since 1983, since employment was artificially suppressed in 2020. But you’d be expecting that Black people would be ahead after that, yes? Let’s just see what the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Household Survey has to say about that (chart taken from the BLS site):

What you see right there is that the unemployment rate for Black people is, in fact, at 5.9%, just like the man said. But you can also see that Black unemployment dropped far more precipitously under Trump than it has under Biden, dropping more than 7.6 percentage points in the 9 months between May 2020 and January 2021. Biden’s only dropped it by 3.3 percentage points in the 15 months after his inauguration. [Data below the fold]

You expect a slowing of the improvement under normal conditions, of course, but not after throwing $2 trillion at the economy.

Their selection of a calendar-year metric was designed to hide both Biden’s mediocre performance and Trump’s much more impressive performance. Cheap trick by unethical people.

The White House spin team is really pathetic.


Dropping Salamanders May 24, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.

Turns out some salamanders (the ones that live in tall redwood trees) are capable of gliding, whereas your regular salamander is not.

Scientists being scientists, they dropped both kinds in a wind tunnel (video at the link). I’ll bet they giggled when they dropped the first (regular) guy.

Poor bastard.

In Appreciation of the Great Work by Biden and Fauci May 22, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.

We’ve had 16 months of “grownups in the White House,” so naturally all of our previous problems have been solved. Take, for example, the COVID-19 situation (basic chart downloaded from the CDC):

You can immediately see the benefits of a steady hand on the tiller. And thank God somebody’s actually listening to Dr. Fauci! You can see how quickly things improved once the administration faithfully followed his recommendations.

But seriously, given the prior experience, availability of vaccines (for what they’re worth), and the emergence of a dominant strain with markedly reduced lethality, it’s stunning that Biden/Fauci have performed as poorly as they have.

Crisising Our Way Toward Global Socialism May 13, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far

One of the hallmarks of good management is that you never notice it. Crises are anticipated and headed off before they ever emerge.* Negotiations are conducted and resolved before aggrieved parties reach an impasse. Supply chain issues, personnel issues, budget issues, etc., are all addressed early, before they balloon into disasters.

So if you’re not part of the management process, you never really notice it. Things are humming along, everything is stable, and you can enjoy the present and plan for the future.

Contrast that with the current administration’s approach, where even on the few occasions where they anticipate a crisis, they do nothing about it. Most of the time they seem oblivious or in denial when a crisis looms. And once the crisis finally arrives, they spend all their time deflecting blame and responsibility, rather than taking action.

They’ve been so consistent with not bothering to take effective action that I’m coming to believe that it’s deliberate: they are crisis nurturers and profiteers, rather than crisis mitigators (I know I’m late in finally accepting this, as other folk have been warning of this for some time). Now, rather than waiting for a crisis to occur organically, they nudge it along, inflate the threat, and then use it to move toward their ultimate goals.

It is instructive that even when the administration was warned about the threat of inflation, saw inflation occurring, and then saw it grow out of control, they didn’t change any of their spending plans. They didn’t do anything but stay the course, when that course was obviously damaging the American people.

Now, what are they proposing instead of throttling back on deficit spending ?

Price controls.

More government intervention and control, replacing capitalism with unilateral government decision-making. Or, more concisely, socialism. And, given their penchant for violating our sovereignty with ridiculous international agreements, global socialism.

I know conspiracists have been warning us about the New World Order for decades, and I always felt there was at least an element in society that was pursuing that goal. But I didn’t think it was a dominant element, or even that significant of an element. But now, it seems transparently obvious that the goal of the administration is to guide us toward that eventuality.

The old movie Rollerball has been coming to mind a lot lately, but I wasn’t sure why. Now I think I know. In that movie there were two classes of people: the executives, who ran things, and everybody else. The executives took care of everything: food, shelter, companionship… Commoners just had to toe the line and keep their mouths shut. Pretty much exactly the scenario that the administration is driving toward.

James Caan’s character (Jonathan E.!) is benefiting hugely from the system, with the best of everything provided him. But he eventually realizes that he’s a bird in a gilded cage, and starts to question whether all the comforts and security are worth the sacrifice of freedom, independence, and self-determination.

In the 70’s, it was obvious to most of us that they were not. Now, however, I think most of the population would be perfectly happy to let someone else take responsibility for their lives.

Better buy some roller skates.

*With obvious act-of-GodChina type exceptions, such as COVID-19

Quick Look at Manufacturing Jobs May 8, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far

Manufacturing jobs continue to improve, but still haven’t quite reached pre-COVID levels:

One wonders what would happened had the Democrats not taken control of Congress in January 2019.

The Miracle of Renewable Energy May 7, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.

Shot (5/2/22):

California runs on 100% clean energy for the first time, with solar dominating

Chaser (5/6/22):

California says it needs more power to keep the lights on

Employment Has Flatlined May 6, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far

The BLS published the Employment Situation Report today, so I thought I’d brush off the old employment graph and update it somewhat. By “somewhat” I mean that I only updated it back to January 2020. The BLS updates numbers going back a decade, so my pre-2020 number are a little old.

Anyway, as you may recall, my curve is an attempt to gauge the health of employment by tracking the number of full-time jobs. To do that, I take the employment numbers from the Household survey and subtract the part-time jobs. Then I divide by the population (the civilian non-institutional population, to be exact).

Here’s what that looks like going back to 1990:

And here’s a closeup of more recent years:

As of January of this year, the % of full-time jobs stopped increasing. Sadly, the increase halted just before it got to pre-COVID levels. Even more sadly, we’re nowhere near 0.52, which was kind of our average before the Great Recession.

Can’t blame the 4-month lull on COVID anymore, and you can’t blame it on Russia. Blame of the administration, however, is not so easily dismissed.

Auditory Accomplishment or Hearing Herring? May 5, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.

From the Cool Medical News file: looks like they’re starting to make headway in dealing with elderly hearing loss:

Hearing loss caused by aging, noise, and some cancer therapy medications and antibiotics has been irreversible because scientists have not been able to reprogram existing cells to develop into the outer and inner ear sensory cells — essential for hearing — once they die.

But Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered a single master gene that programs ear hair cells into either outer or inner ones, overcoming a major hurdle that had previously prevented the development of these cells to restore hearing…

If that wasn’t clear, allow me to sum up. Hearing loss associated with aging is generally due to death or damage to outer ear cells. Now they’ve figured out how to turn cells into outer ear cells. So hopefully that will allow them to replace lost cells as people age, so we can dispense with our ear trumpets.

That won’t just help the elderly with their hearing – when I talked with an Alzheimer’s researcher at UCSF six years ago, she said that hearing loss can accelerate mental decline. Certainly hearing issues also lead to social isolation with all its attendant effects.

So if they can actually get this into clinical practice without taking three or four decades, it’s pretty exciting. If.

Signs of Life at DoublePlusUndead May 5, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far

Looks like the Russian invasion got aliceaitch fired up over at DPUD. She’s been posting pretty regularly since February. They also had a couple of posts in January by veeshir and socklessjoe.

If this continues I’ll have to resurrect them from the “Dormant” category in the sidebar.

Sad Milestone* May 4, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far

Saddened today to learn that I very recently passed Michael (the founder of this blog) in the number of posts published (almost 1900). Part of me wanted to stop just short so that he would always be the lead contributor here, but I wasn’t paying attention, so here we are.

It’s been over 7 years since he passed, and 12 since I started blogging here, but I still feel like the new guy. The token nerd/charts guy amid the hilarious crew of authors we once had. Unfortunately, charts are pretty much all you get these days, and those sparingly.

Ah well. Just a bit of melancholy before I get about my business. Guess I’ll keep plugging away with the charts ‘n such, hopefully with more frequency.

And as always, if any of the other authors have any spare time, it would be awesome if you could dilute my posts.

*Or millstone, amirite?

Ukrainian Folk Rap from Eurovision 2022 May 3, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.

The annual Eurovision contest is happening now, with the Grand Final a week and a half away. In the interest of meeting my state-mandated support quota for Ukraine*, I figured I’d best post the Ukraine entry for this years’ competition (Russia was disinvited from the contest):

Honestly though, I think this entry would have provided a better rationale for Putin’s invasion than the silly “Nazis next door” hokum.

I’ll try to remember to post the winner’s video in 11 days.


Garish Gala Goofs May 3, 2022

Posted by geoff in News.
add a comment

Apparently the Met Gala (don’t even know what that is) happened, and it involved quite the celebrity fashion show. Where by “fashion show” I mean “absolutely ridiculous celebrity preening in garish outfits.”

I thought this would be my #1 example of the silliness:

Until I saw this:

If those spines were 3′ long, I’m sure Fauci would have us all wearing them so we’d have our (completely unsupported by science) 6′ social distancing.

[Both pics were screencaptured from the Daily Mail article, which has many, many, many more stomach-turning examples of celebrities making terrible sartorial decisions.]