May 202017
 

‘Clock boy’ Ahmed Mohamed will file new lawsuit after judge dismisses claims against Irving ISD, city

For those who don’t recall… Clochmed was the kid who took the electrical bits out of a commercial digital plug-in-the-wall clock and re-installed them within a nicely conductive metal case (an off the shelf pencil box, now equipped with  wall plug and exposed wiring). When he was arrested for bringing a “hoax bomb” to school (note: not for bringing a bomb… nobody on scene thought it was actually a bomb, they just assumed that it was something meant to *look* like a bomb in order to scare people), his family was able to parlay that into lots of swag, visits to the President, ill-advised compliments from people who should have known better about what a brilliant “inventor” the kid was (remember: he didn’t build the clock… he just took it out of a plastic housing and put it in a metal one), and a chance to play lawsuit lotto with the town of Irving, Texas. The family, after complaining about Clochmeds human rights being violated, pulled up stakes and moved to Qatar where their human rights are certain to be safe.

If there’s anyone about dense enough to think that*clearly* this was racism/Islamophobia on the part of the authorities in Irving, and that such a thing would never happen to Privileged White Kids, let me REMIND YOU: Pop Tart Pistols.

 Posted by at 10:07 pm
Apr 042017
 

Been a busy day, news-wise. First up… a *potential* “ooopsie” for the former Administration:

Rice at center of intelligence storm over ‘unmasking’ flap

Seems that Susan Rice, national security advisor under Obama (and probably best known as the Voice Of The President when it came to blaming terrorism in the middle east not on middle eastern terrorism, but on a badly made video) *may* have had a hand in getting intelligence data on Trump campaign officials.


And in Syria…

Chemical attack kills dozens in Syria as victims foam at the mouth, activists say

Looks like Putins lil’ buddy Assad committed yet another war crime by gassing his own people.


Butwaittheresmore!

North Korea fires a ballistic missile as Trump prepares to host China’s Xi

I’m getting more and more used to the idea that Lil’ Kim is going to actually shoot a nuke at somebody in the foreseeable future.


And finally, by far the biggest news story of the day:

‘Invader Zim’ is returning to Nickelodeon as a TV movie

About time!

As a bonus, it seems all the important voice actors *and* Jhonen Vasquez, creator of Zim, will return.

If you haven’t seen “Invader Zim…” what the hell’s wrong with you? That show was friggen’ awesome, and like Ren & Stimpy before it, I was always amazed that it was put on a kid’s channel. Zim and Futurama are the pinnacle of sci-fi humor animation.

 

 Posted by at 9:10 pm
Dec 232016
 

So the UN finally got to pass an anti-Israel resolution. This sort of thing usually doesn’t happen,because the US is usually there to veto this sort of thing… but there’s only a month left to the Obama administration, and I guess he figured he has to stick as many knives in as many backs as he can in the time he has.

The summary of the resolution is that Israel is bad and wrong for building on “occupied territory.” Where this sort of thing *really* fails is that people who want to see Israel destroyed consider Israels own capital city, Jerusalem, as “occupied territory.” The US abstained from the vote because according to the current administration Israel building on territory that is not a part of any recognized nation is against the “two state solution.”

Here’s my solution: A “three state solution.” Israel should just go ahead and build settlements. But those settlements would *not* be a part of Israel if they are built on territory that wasn’t part of Israel *after* the 1967 war (which means that Israel keeps Jerusalem, duh). They would, instead, be a *new* nation. “New Israel,” or “Israel-Two,” whatever. This would have two benefits:

  1. New Israel would serve as a buffer zone and bullet sponge for Israel. It would be populated by Israelis who are ok with the notion that they will be constant targets. Over time this would produce an especially hardy breed of badass.
  2. As New Israel grows, the land available for the hypothetical nation of “Palestine” shrinks. This would be an incentive for the Palestinians to stop screwing around and get serious about the business of become a nation – which would include finally coming to accept the existence of Israel – before they lose ever land square inch of land to New Israel.

One potential business opportunity for the New Israelis would be mining operations. The settlements might dig *big* moats around themselves, perhaps 20 feet deep by 20 feet wide (potentially filled with genetically engineered crocoboars or some such). The dirt and rock could then be shipped through Israel to the Mediterranean, where it would be used to help build Israel out *westwards* and increase the land area.

 Posted by at 11:46 pm
Oct 282016
 

So I’ve been hearing lately that “Uh oh, it looks like your average Obamacare customer will see their premiums go up by about 25%.” So imagine my joy upon reading the letter that arrived today alerting me to the fact that not only am I *not* average, I’m special. Super-duper special. My premiums aren’t going up by 25%. They’re going up by 63%. Of course, this being Obamacare, the government (i.e. taxpayers) pay a portion of it. So huzzah! However, the taxpayer will be paying a lower percentage of my monthly premium. So while my premium is going up by 63%, my actual payment is going up by 113% (yes, slightly more than doubling).

I imagine a whole lot of other people are going to be getting similar “Surprise! You’re boned!” letters in the next few days. Since the majority of these people will be poor to relatively poor, this would seem to bite directly into the portion of the electorate  that thought most highly of Obama and Obamacare. You know, the people most likely to vote for Hillary. Having the Hillary voters suddenly getting socked with impressive new bills just *days* before the election? Might not be the best thing for the Hillary campaign. But so long as nothing else goes wrong for her, I imagine she’ll be fine…

But on the other hand, there are a whole lot of people who are just plain stupid and don’t understand what’s going on:

So I guess I better start selling off some stuff…

 Posted by at 7:21 pm
Oct 162016
 

We’ve undoubtedly all heard stories of someone who’s getting by financially, then they win the lottery, go absolutely bugnuts on buying way more stuff than their winning can justify, and end up in worse shape than before they won. But this article details another type of person who goes broke due to the lottery: the neighbors of the winners.

Why You May Go Bankrupt if Your Neighbor Wins the Lottery

Before I started reading the article, I figured it would detail the sad possibility of your neighbor winnign the lottery, doing a whole lot of improvements to their property and perhaps buying & improving others in the area, consequently drivign up property values and thus tax rates, screwing over the poor schmoes who weren’t involved but who can now no longer afford their homes. But it’s worse than that.

In the case I’d assumed, the poor schmoe is blameless. Just sheer dumb luck to suddenly get gentrified out of house and home. But what the article actually describes is blame that can be laid entirely at the feet of the neighbors.

In short, the cause is envy. Your neighbor wins the lottery and, for some reason, *doesn’t* promptly move away. But they *do* go out and buy a brand new sports car, or SUV, or in-ground swimming pool, or life-size Hulkbuster. And what do *you* do? If you are a rational, wise and self-aware person, you go next door, congratulate them, then go about your life as if nothing has changed… because for you, it hasn’t. But if you are like a more common human being, you see your neighbors neato new stuff, and you decide, ” Hmmm. I should one-up them.”

Which is fine, and helps keep the economy motoring along, but if you *can’t* afford to one-up your neighbors, you’re rather stupidly setting yourself up for financial disaster.

The abstract for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia working paper that the article is based on has this to say:

We provide new causal evidence that keeping up with the Joneses behavior causes financial distress by examining whether lottery prizes of random dollar magnitudes increase bankruptcy filings of very close neighbors of the winner. We find that a 1% increase in the lottery prize causes a 0.04% rise in subsequent bankruptcies among the winners’ close neighbors. We also provide evidence on conspicuous consumption as a mechanism for this causal relationship. The size of lottery prizes increases the value of visible assets (e.g., houses, cars) but not invisible assets (e.g., cash, financial assets), appearing on the bankruptcy balance sheets of neighboring bankruptcy filers.

So, if your neighbor wins the lottery and as a result you promptly spend yourself into the poorhouse, whose fault is it? It’s not your neighbors; they didn’t force you to spend a dime. It’s not the Lottery’s fault. It’s not the government’s fault, the taxpayers, your other neighbors. It’s not even the fault of the people who sold you stuff (assuming, of course, that they didn’t sell you stuff under false pretenses). It’s *your* fault.

What’s interesting, I think, is that I’d bet that most people would agree. When presented with this as a pure hypothetical about a neighbor buying beyond his means as a result of someone else winning the lottery, they’d agree that it’s the neighbors fault and responsibility. But here’s the thing: change the words a little bit, and instead of the neighbor winning the lottery, it’s the neighbor running a successful business and making a mintload of money. Suddenly we’re talking about “income inequality,” and somehow the neighbor is no longer responsible. Even if the rich guy isn’t at fault exactly for the neighbors plight, many people will still believe it is the role of the government to swoop in and take some of the rich guys money to redistribute it to the neighbor.

The way your neighbor chooses to spend his bags of cash (assuming we’re not talking about buying nightly rock concepts in the back yard or fireworks displays or whatever) has no material effect on you. Heck, let’s say with his new millions he is able to lease time on a time-travelling 100-inch OLED 16K 3D TV and is able to watch in the privacy of his home theater Episodes 8 through 127 of Star Wars, peer into alternate realities and catch up on seasons 2 through 12 of Firefly, and binge-watch “Keeping up with the Scarlett Johansson & Kate Upton Zero-G Naked Fun Time Hour.” Assuming he doesn’t actually spoil those future episodes of Star Wars… how are you harmed by his ability to enjoy things that you cannot? Jealous? You bet. But you not only have no right to what he has, you’re a dumbass if you do self-destructive things you cannot afford, like mortgaging your house to catch a glimpse of the magical TV, or voting for socialist nightmares like Bernie Sanders who promises to take your neighbors stuff because it’s somehow “unfair” that he has what you don’t.

Do what I do when you see someone with something you want but cannot have: grumble, piss and moan, then get on with life. If “getting on with it” means working harder to make more money to earn that which you want, so much the better. Obviously some things that you might want can’t be bought no matter the fatness of your bank account, but destroying yourself over it is just stupid.

 Posted by at 3:49 pm
Jun 232016
 

So pretty much all day today I’ve been dealing with getting a book assembled. It’s of unusual format (11 inch-high pages about 40 inches long) and of only 27 pages length, but it cost enough to have printed that I only got ten. And so today I ran my butt 40 miles down the road to the print shop to get it (and a few other things that were printed), and once I got home I’ve spent the rest of the day dealing with these project. After many hours futzing around, I have a grand total of one copy of the book all assembled.

WP_20160622_002

Anyway, I was busy all day today. While driving home I heard something on the radio that made me think someone was playing a little joke, and then forgot all about it. So when I finally finished that first book, I turned on CNN to find that the House Democrats have lost their tiny little minds and have been having a childish temper tantrum all day. If you’ve somehow failed to hear, they’ve been having a “sit in” in the House preventing work from going forward because they lost votes on their initial ideas about restricting the civil liberties of American citizens without due process. Take, for example, Senator Diane Feinstein explaining that it is up to Americans to prove their innocence, a complete reversal of more than 200 years of American jurisprudence. She then goes on to say that that’s just the first step; next comes banning the average civilian firearm.

And the floor of the House looks like it has been invaded by an army of Trigglypuffs, shouting their inane slogans: “Why do you want to let terrorists buy a gun?” “No bill, no breaks!” And other such nonsense, like a bunch of idiot campus causehead protestors. At the same time they’re yapping about wanting a Real Debate, they’re shouting down anyone with an opposing view, like Louis Gohmert pointing out that the Orlando terrorist attack was, in fact, a terrorist attack:

Bah.

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At left, Rep. John Lewis. He made his name in the 1960’s working for civil rights; now he’s working to curtail civil rights.

The reason I turned on CNN in the first place was to see the Libertarian town hall in hopes that maybe, just maybe, the Libertarians might give me hope this time around. But it was pre-empted by coverage of the Democrats House whine-in. It’s very unlikely, but just barely possible enough that maybe there was some thought in advance to scheduling this childish display in order to wipe out one of the few opportunities the Libertarians have of reaching the public.

And apparently Nancy Pelosi is sending out fundraising emails. Even the talking heads on CNN generally agreed that this was “gauche;” the Dems claim they’re doing this to protect families and children and puppies and baby unicorns, but it’s really just a craven and monumentally cynical publicity and fundraising stunt.

Even Raedthinn can’t stand these idjits, and he doesn’t even watch CNN.

WP_20160621_005

 Posted by at 12:06 am
May 122016
 

Oy.

Join 100 Women Posing Naked at the Republican National Convention

The photograph will involve 100 nude women holding large mirror discs, reflecting the knowledge and wisdom of progressive women and the concept of “Mother Nature” into and onto the convention center, cityscape and horizon of Cleveland. The philosophy of the artwork relates to the idea of the sacred feminine. By holding mirrors, we hope to suggest that women are a reflection and embodiment of nature, the sun, the sky and the land. We want to express the belief that we will rely upon the strength, intuition and wisdom of progressive and enlightened women to find our place in nature and to regain the balance within it. The mirrors communicate that we are a reflection of ourselves, each other, and of the world that surrounds us. The woman becomes the future and the future becomes the woman.

Blah, blah, blah. Basically, this goober is comparing women to mirrors: you know, flat, featureless objects that are incapable of creation, can only reflect what they happen to be facing, with neither intellect nor volition. Hmmm. You know, that might actually be an accurate metaphor for the sort of progressive who would sign up for this sort of gag, thinking she’s doing something “important.”

 Posted by at 10:30 pm
Apr 282016
 

This seems like it was a blast:

UMass Amherst students throw temper tantrum at free speech event

In short… this last Monday a few people dared say something politically incorrect, and the social justice warriors melted down. For example, behold this clip:

 

Take special note of the fine young lady who tries to make the whole thing all about her. You know, I try to avoid making fun of people based on their appearance, but sometimes some people behave like *such* jackholes that you cannot help at least cranking out the jokes at their expense in your own head. And, man, this person is so far on one side of the bell curve in terms of both behavior and appearance that it’s hard to not point and laugh. One is left to wonder if she will look back on her performance in shame, recognizing that she pretty much single-handedly proved the speakers right in suggesting that political correctness on campus has gone to far; or is she so messed up that she is beyond recovery and will spend the rest of her life in a  haze of misery, false victimhood and unreasoning hate?


Some other vids from the event:

And a long one:

 Posted by at 6:25 pm
Apr 142016
 

There are two very popular memes in political discourse regarding income and taxation:

  1. Women get paid only 79 cent for every dollar a man makes
  2. The rich aren’t paying their fair share of income taxes

It’s easy to understand why these are popular. They’re easy to express (and put on bumper stickers), they make lots of people feel like victims, and they are a great way to drive wedges between large segments of the population. So for authoritarians, fascists, Progressives and other forms of just plain awful people, these are great “facts” to spout as loudly and as often as possible. But are they true?

As to #1: do women on the whole earn less than men? Yes. Is it because of discrimination, that evil bosses simply pay women less than men Just Cuz? Not even close. Whose fault is it that a woman gets paid less than a man, then? Simply put… the womans fault. Because, generally speaking, the path these women have chosen is a path that *necessarily* leads to lower paying jobs. Harvard economist Claudia Goldin was on NPR a few days ago and made some important points:

Disproportionately, women, particularly those who are mothers or who are taking care of others, would like greater predictability in their hours. They would like less on-call hours. They would like fewer periods of long hours. Well, those jobs are often the jobs – the ones that have the longer hours, the less predictability – those are the ones that are often the higher income occupations.

What this basically means is if you want to get paid the big bucks, you have to work the crap jobs. Sure, doctors get paid more than septic tank techs. But the doctors who are on call 24/7 get paid more than those who keep normal business hours; the ones who put in 60 hours a week get more than those who put in 40. The same goes for the septic tank techs. If you need to have predictable hours to take care of the rugrats… you get paid less. If you simply *want* predictable hours just because you don’t want to be on call 24/7, you get paid less. And it appears that women are more interested in more stable hours… and less of ’em.

Additionally: If you have two employees, A and B, who start at the same time, with the same skill set and work experience, you will probably pay them the same. If, two years in, A decides to take a year off… when A comes back, B will have put in one more year of work than A has. It doesn’t matter if A left to raise a baby, take care of a dying parent, study abroad, study a broad, hike the Appalachian Trail or follow Phish on tour, the simple fact is… A wasn’t at work for a year, while B was. B’s getting a raise that A’s not getting. B has not only put in more hours, B is more up-to-date on what’s going on. B has demonstrated more utility to the company than A has. And as it turns out, women are more likely to be “A” than “B,” generally due to the whole “raising offspring” thing.

When all that gets factored in, the “wage gap” shrinks substantially, to the point where economist Goldin said:

On average, when we measure these differences, we do find a residual gap. And in certain cases, we would feel very comfortable as researchers in saying this is discrimination. But it’s very, very hard to do that because it’s hard to find the smoking guns.

I’m a historian as well as an economist. And in the past, we really could find smoking guns. People would actually say, I pay women less than men. We don’t find that anymore. So we have to really search for the smoking guns. I know they’re there. I know that there is discrimination. How much is there – probably not that much.

So… sure, there’s some discrimination. But where? It does not seem to be readily findable.

OK, so on to Number 2, those dastardly richies not paying their fair share. Ummmm… well, the facts don’t seem to support that:

…after all federal taxes are factored in, the U.S. tax system as a whole is progressive. The top 0.1% of families pay the equivalent of 39.2% and the bottom 20% have negative tax rates (that is, they get more money back from the government in the form of refundable tax credits than they pay in taxes).

The squawking for a “basic income,” where people – all people – would get paid some amount of money annually simply because they’re alive (and if they are Democrats in Illinois, being alive probably won’t be a requirement) gets louder every year. As robots and illegal aliens make more and more of the minwage workers obsolete, you can bet that this call will only get *painfully* loud. Now, we already have lots and lots of people who are negative taxpayers, as described above, and the highest tax rates are paid by those who make the most. So how are the rich not paying their fair share? Should more people at the bottom be cut off from the responsibility of funding the government that takes care of them, while those at the top should be squeezed for more? If you do that, and many want to, you put the burden of taxation on a smaller and smaller group of people. And the smaller the group of people, the more influence they have… by pulling up stakes and moving elsewhere, by dying, by simply stopping. Remember, a lot of the people who want to tax the rich often say stuff like “aren’t you rich enough” or similar. So, let’s say the really high earners suddenly agreed with them and decided to retire. Then… this:

In 2014, people with adjusted gross income, or AGI, above $250,000 paid just over half (51.6%) of all individual income taxes

It wouldn’t take too many durned rich bastiches to decide to retire and live the easy life before the federal budget revenues implode.

 

 Posted by at 2:00 pm