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Pete Buttigieg: Hispanic Hater February 14, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.
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Our barely-there Secretary of Transportation was complaining that people of color were being denied work in the construction industry:

BUTTIGIEG: “We have heard way too many stories from generations past of infrastructure where you got a neighborhood, often a neighborhood of color that finally sees the project come to them but everyone in the hardhats on that project looking like, you know, doing — doing the good paying jobs don’t look like they came from anywhere near the neighborhood.”

Putting aside the lack of relevance of the experience of “generations past” on the present, it takes but a moment to dig up the demographics of the construction industry from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and but a moment more to screencap their chart (Slide 3):

One presumes that the likelihood of seeing construction workers of color in neighborhoods of color corresponds to the prevalence of workers of color in the construction industry. So the usual whipping boy, Non-Hispanic Whites, doesn’t seem to be grabbing more than their fair share of construction jobs. No, it is Hispanics who have captured a disproportionate fraction of those jobs.

So why pick on Hispanics, Pete?

Racial Progress in the NFL February 12, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.

People have been pointing out that this is the first time two black quarterbacks have faced each other in the Super Bowl. The occasion brought to mind this ancient skit (almost 46 years old) from SNL featuring Garrett Morris and Fran Tarkenton (Vikings QB):

Garrett Morris: Right on. right on, man. But still, man, even in 1977, you know, some stereotypes still exist, wouldn’t you agree?

Fran Tarkenton: Uh, none that I know of.

Garrett Morris: Well, how about the myth that a black man can not make it as a pro quarterback? There are 28 teams in the league, and only three of them have black quarterbacks, and they all sitting on the bench, you know what I mean?

Fran Tarkenton: Uh.. yeah, yeah.

Garrett Morris: Well, for years there’s been this myth that a black’s mind is not elaborate enough to read defenses. And he can’t call audible from the line, and that he has no leadership qualities. Now, you’ve been, you know, in the league for sixteen years, and you just said that there is no prejudice, right?

Fran Tarkenton: Uh, yes.

Garrett Morris: Then, what about these myths?

Fran Tarkenton: They’re absolutely true, Garrett.

Garrett Morris: I must have missed something. What did you say?

Fran Tarkenton: It’s not a myth, it’s a fact. Every black I know has trouble with area codes, let alone numbers of plays!

Garrett Morris: Wait, wait, wait.. say that again?

Fran Tarkenton: Well, you know, even the black kids in the summer camp I run don’t have it. Sure, they can dance in the end zone, they’ve got the ????? in their feet. But when it comes to leadership, one black quarterback on the forty yard line ends up in the parking lot with a bucket of chicken!

Garrett Morris: Hey, man, I know what you mean! Yeah, that’s true! Yeah, I know what you mean!

Fran Tarkenton: And, Garrett, let’s face it – try to be objective. If you were on the offensive line, would you turn your back on a black guy standing behind you? Especially during a night game?

Garrett Morris: No, man.. not me. I’ve got a wife and kids. Uh.. look, man, thank you for clearing that up, man. I’ve always had a problem about that. And thank you for watching “Black Perspective”. Next week, Mark Spitz explains why there are no black swimmers.

My takeaways are:

  • It was a lot easier to make progress on racism when you could mock it openly and without walk-on-eggshells sensitivity
  • Going from no black starting quarterbacks to 11 may have taken too long, but it’s certainly evidence of progress against the very real prejudice against black quarterbacks in the 70’s
  • The transcript doesn’t do the bit justice – Garrett Morris’s delivery made the sketch work
  • Should be a pretty good Super Bowl, esp. since I plan on skipping the halftime show

Easing Into the Weekend February 10, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.

For some reason this song has been stuck in my head lately. I usually prefer jazz fusion and trance instrumental music, but her voice makes me long for my bunk.

Golden Chicken! February 9, 2023

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I read way, way too much manga, manhwa, and manhua, so it was inevitable that a bit of that would bleed over to the blog. Here’s one of my favorite pages from a manhwa titled Yongbi. Here, the title character is trying to stay cool despite his legendary level of avarice:

I think it’s the last panel that gets me. Sadly my wife and daughter didn’t find it as funny as I did, so I corrected them, too (/The Shining).

Deficit Reduction, Biden-Style February 9, 2023

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In his recent State of the Union speech, our illustrious president claimed that between 2021 and 2022 he had reduced the deficit, a claim which was dismantled by many critics. But there’s no dead horse that doesn’t deserve another kick, so I thought I’d show the latest CBO data to give us a more real-time picture of how we’re doing, deficit reduction-wise.

So here are our revenues for the current fiscal year through January, compared to the revenues from the last fiscal year (table from CBO report):

In a sane world, we’d be thinking, “Whoa Nelly! Our revenues haven’t increased, so our spending should at least stay the same!”

But this is Joseph P. Biden’s world, so here’s your spending (figure from CBO report):

Yup, just burning through money like we had some. The Oct-Jan deficit was $200 billion higher in 2023 than in 2022, and CBO notes (Table 1) that were it not for payments that were shifted due to a weekend, the deficit would have been $263 billion higher.

So our deficit through the first four months of this fiscal year is 77% higher than last year.

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to have some skepticism regarding the President’s grasp of reality.

Art Becomes Spy Balloon Near-Reality February 7, 2023

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The military said that the Chinese spy balloon was no threat, but if you’ve seen The Prisoner, I think you know what was coming next:

Red rover indeed.

Real Estate’s Best Days Are Behind It February 6, 2023

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…at least for the moment.

I’ve been waiting for the economic issues and high interest rates to start affecting the real estate industry – turns out it’s been happening since June (data from Realtor.com):

That’s more than a 10% drop in the median home price (11%, if you must know).

A Little 80’s Pep to Get the Weekend Rolling February 3, 2023

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60% Of The Time They’re Women All The Time February 2, 2023

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Townhall is calling out another Biden gaffe:

BIDEN: “More than half the women in my administration are women.”

But I don’t think they should be so hard on him. After all, in these transsexual days you need that sort of clarification.

BA.5, We Hardly Knew Ye January 31, 2023

Posted by geoff in News.

Back in August, a mere 6 months ago, I wrote a post noting that the dominant COVID strain at that time was BA.5, which accounted for 90% of cases. How quickly things change (chart from CDC):

There’s a 3-week lag in the data, so they have this “Nowcast” estimate that brings you up to date:

As you can see, the best estimate is that BA.5 is essentially extinct at this time. At the same time, XBB.1.5, which appeared 2 months ago, is now estimated to account for 61% of cases.

These timelines are stunning – the mutations are so fast that there’s no way vaccine modifications can keep up. Although a recent study claimed that the newish bivalent booster was ~50% effective in preventing “symptomatic XBB.1.5 infection,” it’s doubtful that those numbers will hold up as more data becomes available, and particularly as the boosters age. Not that 50% is all that impressive anyway.

The bottom line is that people who opt to get the boosters are doing so on blind faith. They have no idea how long the booster will last, or whether it will be effective against strains that can emerge from nowhere to dominate the case counts within a couple of months.

Seems like we’d be just as well off if we just boosted the immune system in a general way.

An Unwelcome Uptick at the Pump January 31, 2023

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Gas prices have jumped 13% from their Xmas low of $3.05/gallon. We’re now at $3.44/gallon, which is about $1/gallon higher than the pre-COVID days.

See for yourself (chart downloaded from GasBuddy):

Defining Manliness January 26, 2023

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Seems like people are always trying to define what a “man” is. I remember a few years back when some yahoo had a list of manly attributes. Among them was “charging his wife and kids’ cellphones at night.” He was thoroughly and justly mocked.

Today Instapundit linked to a commendable essay which talks about the definition of manhood.

Man among men


On what it means to be a man.

The debate about Burke reminded me of the debate about men: what makes a man? One way of answering this question is to go about it the way the short historian approached Burke, to describe men’s beliefs and influences. The psychologist James Mahalik did exactly this in 2003 when, along with a team of researchers and postgraduates, he created a list of twelve “masculine norms . . . Winning, Emotional Control, Risk-Taking, Violence, Dominance, Playboy, Self-Reliance, Primacy of Work, Power Over Women, Disdain for Homosexuals, Physical Toughness, and Pursuit of Status.” Being a man is, in this sense, about the possession of certain qualities. Jack Donovan arrives at a similar conclusion in his book The Way of Men (2012): “Strength, courage, mastery, and honor,” he writes, “are the fundamental virtues of men because without them, no ‘higher’ virtues can be attained.”

After considering these and other perspectives, the author decides that a man can be defined by his roles as son, brother (in the sense of being a brother to all men), husband, and father.

That’s not bad, but I’ve had simple working definition I’ve become fond of, which I think covers the concept of manhood pretty comprehensively:

A “real” man is a man who does what it takes to support and protect his family, friends, community, and country using honorable means.

Same definition I have for a real woman, actually. Or any human.