We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, November 17. 2014
Toshiba enters high-tech food game with lettuce you don’t have to wash
Five-year-old passes Microsoft exam
Shale Oil: Expensive, Over-Hyped, & Short-Lived?
The Ways Climate Change Is Already Killing Us
Good grief, it's killing me already
Will Republican Know-Nothings Torpedo Climate Progress?
I guess I'm a know-nothing, but I am more Conservative-Libertarian than Republican and I do know a teeny bit about science.
"...the oceans have been rising for around 12,000 years, since the end of the last Ice Age. The rise was rapid during the first few millennia, then tapered off to where it has continued at a modest rate, with the usual fluctuations, for many centuries"
Who are the real know-nothings? Warm is good. Don't these people know that we are still in an Ice Age? It's just a momentary interglacial in a lengthy Ice Age. Ask Maine's Sippican about that.
The government is clueless as to what is nutritious because the science is nowhere near being settled in our lifetime.
Well, We The People know that mashed taters are nutritious. Fat is harmless, but you can live on taters forever.
More than holy, healthy and halal, Big Kosher is big money
New CBO study shows that ‘the rich’ don’t just pay a ‘fair share,’ they pay almost everybody’s share
Black prof.: GOP using Mia Love to advance ‘white interests’
What is a "white interest"? Mashed potatoes?
Douthat: The Great Immigration Betrayal
The Next Border Crisis - Executive amnesty would incentivize the next wave of families
Police state? More Federal Agencies Are Using Undercover Operations
Mr. Gruber, we Americans are all too stupid to chose our medical insurance, so do it for us. Please? It's a wonder we can even feed ourselves.
Obama Says Gruber “Never Worked on Our Staff” …But There’s Proof He Met With Gruber in White House
Under the bus with Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, et al. It's getting crowded under that bus.
Republicans have made it clear that if Obama goes forward, it would be the equivalent of giving the middle finger to their incoming majority
U.S. Navy Deploys Laser Weapon in Persian Gulf
1939 Palestinian Flag. What does it look like? Surprised?
Russian bombers to fly over the Gulf of Mexico. This is what happened last year in Central America.
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"Dr. Darren Smith, an assistant professor at Wichita State University, wrote an op-ed in Huffington Post arguing that Love, the first black, female Republican to be elected to the House of Representatives, is nothing more than a tool for the Republican Party to advance its interests."
Can't get anything past this guy.
Nice, how he completely denies the woman of color her own agency. One might say he holds views about her based solely on the color of her skin....or is it her sex?
JKB: Nice, how he completely denies the woman of color her own agency.
That doesn't necessarily follow. Her sincerity with regards to her Republicanism doesn't preclude her race being used to advance an agenda. Whether she is self-aware enough to be watchful for this is an open question.
That would indicate that she is something more than a tool which the professor denies. So your attempt to explain his racism fails. Thanks for playing.
Lettuce article doesnt state how much that toshiba lettuce costs. $20/head?
Like lab grown beef this is unnecessary.
"Please? It's a wonder we can even feed ourselves."
Al "the internet pal" Gore has a plan for that.
"U.S. Navy Deploys Laser Weapon in Persian Gulf"
On sharks or ill-tempered Sea Bass?
The shale oil issue is an intriguing one. Consider this.
In 1978, I got my license to drive and I was paying the ungodly sum of .65 per gallon of gas. We were outraged, at the time, at this ridiculously high price. When it hit .70 by the end of that year, more than a few people were bent out of shape.
Today, we are ecstatic at $2.69 per gallon here in NJ. It's lower elsewhere. However, $2.69 is, in inflation terms, the same as .65 in 1978.
I've mentioned before that shale oil isn't the 'cause' of lower oil prices, in fact at current levels shale is not profitable. We'll likely see the shale oil revolution slow considerably.
That's not a bad thing. This means other, more marginal, fields will remain to be tapped when prices rise again.
It's also worth noting that our 'enjoyment' of .65 (in real terms) gas compared to our 'outrage' in 1978, to show the real impact of economic conditions over the last 40 years. The price of oil isn't inflated because of lack of resources (as peak oil people claim), but because of Central Bank policies.
It is this price signal manipulation that is causing misallocation of resources (say, in shale oil while prices are declining, though I'm being facetious with that comment) in many industries across our economy and the world.
Ultimately, we're not going to 'run out' of energy, even if we 'run out' of oil. Because prices are a relative thing. The fact we consider our current prices 'low', when we considered them 'high' 40 years ago shows how people adapt.
If we run out of oil, and prices go up, we will adapt to other energy resources which are available at higher prices - and the economy will experience an adjustment period and then resume its growth.
In the meantime, enjoy the low prices. Continue to conserve (because we all like cheap and easy energy like oil), but there's no reason to get crazy about running out of energy anytime soon. Barring a political disruption (like Obama shutting down new drilling and pipelines).
The cost of gas may be relatively the same today as in 1978, however, if you look at minimum wage, there are large differences.
Minimum wage in 1978 = $2.65/hour
Cost of gas in 1978 = 65 cents/gallon
How many gallons could min. wage buy? 4 gallons
Minimum wage in 2014 = $7.25
Cost of gas in 2014 = $2.85 (where I live)
How many gallons could min. wage buy? 2.5 gallons
So although the cost of gas is about the same, wages are depressed. Therefore, we have every right to be complaining about the high cost of gas relative to the wages of today's minimum wage worker.
1978 was in the middle of the era when the 16 MPG Chevrolet Caprice (22 highway) was the best selling car in the US. In 2014 the longstanding best-seller is the Toyota Camry at 26/35 MPG.
So in city traffic, your hour of minimum-wage labor buys:
1978: 64 miles
2014: 65 miles
Minimum wage is an artifact, and part of the driver for higher prices is the minimum wage.
If you don't believe that (and it's possible you don't), then it's a driver for the higher levels of unemployed workers in the US.
It has to be one, or the other. Or it could be both, to some degree.
You can't legislate a wage. If that worked the way its supporters say it does, then why not just legislate the minimum wage to be $150,000 a year, call it a day - we'd all be 'rich'.
People also forget there are precious few families 'living' on minimum wage. It is primarily second-income earners, or people who are living in multiple-person households.
The increased minimum wage from 1978 to today has increased teen unemployment to record levels.
Here's another fact worth considering about prices today. A 1978 Chevy Camaro Z-28, fully loaded (classic teen dream car) was $6,500. Today, a basic Camaro goes for about $27,000. That's about $5,900 in 1978 prices. But TODAY'S basic Camaro has more bells and whistles than the 1978 fully loaded Z-28. If you compared the 1978 version to today's basic version, you'd much rather be driving today's. And it's 'cheaper' in real terms.
The fully loaded Z-28 today is very expensive, even after inflation is factored in. I think it's $42,000. But again, you're getting a lot more with it.
Generally speaking, the 'stuff' people on minimum wage buy is not a Z-28. Still, most products that they buy today ARE better and offer more, at lower prices in real terms.
Minimum wage goes much, much further today than it did in 1978. As a friend of mine recently noted, the generic soup we used to buy in 1985, when we couldn't afford to buy much of anything, was $.25. Today's same generic soup (which is healthier, by the way, if you review the nutrient info) is still $.25.
My old standard bachelor dish, Mac n Cheese, is also sold at roughly the same price as I paid in 1985.
I think that is far more meaningful.
I am trying to figure out what kind of soup you are buying? 25 cent soup? Maybe you mean something homemade, but a can of soup has most definitely gone up in price.
As for your arguments, I was only using the cost of gas (as you used) and the minimum wage to give us an idea of how our dollars have not kept up with the cost of certain items.
I appreciate the supposed gas 'savings' with certain cars, but if you look around, I don't see many minimum wage workers driving new Camrys. Most are driving junkers that are more than 10 years old.
The problem with your argument is that today's junkers are more fuel efficient than the junkers of 1978. I drive an 18 year old vehicle which gets 26 city and 40 highway.
There are an awful lot of 15-20 year old Toyotas and Hondas on the road.
Granted, you can see some 1978 Impalas still on the road, but old Hondas outnumber them.
Interesting fact. In 1962, you could buy a gallon of gas for three silver dimes. Today, you can buy a gallon of gas for the silver value of three silver dimes.
The cost of gas may be relatively the same today as in 1978, however, if you look at minimum wage, there are large differences. [4 gallons vs. 2.5 gallons for an hour of minimum wage]
There are some problems with your argument. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The proportion of hourly paid workers earning the prevailing federal minimum wage or less declined from 5.2 percent in 2011 to 4.7 percent in 2012. This remains well below the figure of 13.4 percent in 1979, when data were first collected on a regular basis. (See table 10.)While the current minimum wage may buy less gasoline than it did in 1978 or 1979, the proportion of workers who earn the minimum wage today is substantially less - 4.7 % versus 13.4%.
Commenter Douglas points out that vehicles today are more fuel efficient, so they travel more on a gallon of gasoline than they did back then.
Republicans have made it clear that if Obama goes forward, it would be the equivalent of giving the middle finger to their incoming majority
Obama has made many attempts to work with Republicans, including proposing a grand bargain entailing entitlement reform. However, Republicans made it clear they would do everything they could to undermine his administration. They even threatened to default on the national debt.
Republican Senate leader, McConnell: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.
You mean opposition Party leaders should do just every little thing they can, to grease the skids for a second term, right?
Methinks a change in the medication might be in order.
Scullman: You mean opposition Party leaders should do just every little thing they can, to grease the skids for a second term, right?
No, but it is hoped they wouldn't work towards the country's failure. Then again, scorched earth exists because it often works.
Obama isn't my "country" and his personal failure as a divisive politician for eight years in the White House has nothing to do with "my" country.
We've outlived a hell of a lot worse than a Chicago community organizer with a part-time job lecturing college kids on the Constitution he's just about to shred.
I don't know where you live, maybe wherever that is, he's your "country". He sure as hell ain't mine.
Scullman: Obama isn't my "country" and his personal failure as a divisive politician for eight years in the White House has nothing to do with "my" country.
When you're talking about threatening to default on the national debt, that is national failure.
A minor correction, Skullman. The O lectured on Social Justice as per Ogletree, his Harvard mentor. The Constitution as you and I know it had nothing to do with his offerings.
My, how the worm has turned.
“There’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border—a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before. Not all these fears are irrational.The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century. If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole, it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”
Barack Obama, 2006. "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream"
Scullman: My, how the worm has turned.
In the chapter you quote from, Obama talks not only about the concerns of many Americans, but also comprehensive solutions that were stalled in Congress, which included stricter border enforcement, a long path to citizenship, and penalties for hiring undocumented workers. Those efforts are still stalled in Congress.
What are you talking about? "stalled in Congress" ?
This incompetent fraud, and his party, held the congress for two solid years and could have done ANYTHING they wanted on Immigration, in any form they chose.
They did bupkis.
But they certainly didn't hesitate to use their advantage on ObamaCare and deny every single idea and every single amendment put forth by the R's.
Scullman: This incompetent fraud, and his party, held the congress for two solid years and could have done ANYTHING they wanted on Immigration, in any form they chose.
Obama attempted to move forward on immigration reform, but it was blocked in the Senate where it takes a supermajority to move legislation forward.
Your version of "forward", of course, is very different from many other's. Many believe Obama's and your "forward" is "backward."
I'm in the middle. I think his version of "forward" is a cynical vote-getting ploy that will impoverish more people than it helps. While I support immigration reform, his version is fraught with problems and no solutions, except to add 5mm potential Democrats.
So by blocking it, and I'm no fan of Republicans, Republicans may have done all of us a favor.
Given the broad disapproval of his direction, the concept of "tyranny of the majority" was protected by the need for a supermajority.
Obama has had plenty of opportunities and methods to employ to push his wishes through. He used backdoor methods to get the ACA, and could've utilized them with immigration, as well - but again, there is broad disapproval. So he knew that he was able to do what he did, appear to be 'magnanimous' to the people he needed to be seen that way by, but still not have to deal with the repercussions.
He is a crafty politician. But the filth piles high with all politicians, particularly him.
Bulldog: Your version of "forward", of course, is very different from many other's. Many believe Obama's and your "forward" is "backward."
Perhaps, but it was a compromise bill that included stricter border enforcement, a long path to citizenship, and penalties for hiring undocumented workers.
Bulldog: Obama has had plenty of opportunities and methods to employ to push his wishes through.
The Democrats only had a filibuster-proof majority for a very short period of time. More important, Republicans refused to try to reach a compromise. They knew that if they could throw enough monkey wrenches into the workings of government, it would undermine the president. Scorched earth exists because is often works.
The ACA had to overcome a filibuster, and again, the Republicans had no desire to reach any sort of compromise, which may have helped improve the bill considerably. As it was, the market exchanges was a Republican idea.
You MUST be mistaken, Z! That would mean that pubbies have a backbone.
mudbug: That would mean that pubbies have a backbone.
Well, Republicans did shut down the federal government, and brought the U.S. to the brink of credit default, which was responsible for downgrade of U.S. credit.
Stalemate like that is good for the US - it has helped alleviate the damage Obama and Bush inflicted on us with deficits.
While shutting down the government may have been 'blamed' for the downgrade, the downgrade was a long time coming and everyone in the bond markets knew that. It was the straw that broke the camel's back - but the damage had been done long before the shutdown.
Bulldog: While shutting down the government may have been 'blamed' for the downgrade, the downgrade was a long time coming and everyone in the bond markets knew that.
The credit agencies blamed the threat of default due to political gamesmanship.
When you've racked up more debt than all the previous presidents combined, when you're $17T in debt and have no plan to deal with it other than extend the debt limit (something that was unpatriotic, according to Obummer, when Bush was president), when your idea of entitlement reform is to increase the number of people on them and loosen restrictions, when you have no plan to keep Medicare or SS solvent, it's time for somebody to try to interject some fiscal discipline.
mudbug: When you've racked up more debt than all the previous presidents combined, when you're $17T in debt and have no plan to deal with it other than extend the debt limit (something that was unpatriotic, according to Obummer, when Bush was president), when your idea of entitlement reform is to increase the number of people on them and loosen restrictions, when you have no plan to keep Medicare or SS solvent, it's time for somebody to try to interject some fiscal discipline.
The debt is due to the financial meltdown and its aftermath. Deficits have been reduced to a third of what they were when Obama took office. Entitlement reform was proposed as a Democratic concession in return for a grand bargain on taxes, the deficits and jobs, but again, the Republicans had an explicit policy of non-cooperation even if cooperation were to meet their own goals and furtherance of the needs of the American people.
This is obstructionism is anomalous in modern U.S. history.
This is idiocy. A financial meltdown does not require the government to spend money on boondoggles like Solyndra or 'shovel-ready' jobs that didn't exist. When the 'Stimulus' was approved, many thought that was a one time thing... Wrong! All that spending kept right on coming till Obummer was caught by his own idea - the sequester - which was the only thing that has imparted any fiscal discipline at all and which Obummer decried as disastrous.
Obummer is the one who gutted Welfare reform so that you didn't have to have a work requirement. Now there's entitlement reform for you. As for Medicare - he raided it for ObummerCare.
Calling the pubbies obstructionist is laughable. After a few hundred bills that were passed in the House but never saw the light of day in the Senate because of Harry Reid. Many of them would have been approved but Reid had to protect Obummer. It will be really interesting to see what Obummer does with bills passed by the House and Senate in the next session. If he vetos them, will he be obstruction the pubbies?
mudbug: A financial meltdown does not require the government to spend money on boondoggles like Solyndra or 'shovel-ready' jobs that didn't exist.
Yes, a stimulus makes sense during a downtown. In addition, your facts are wrong. The DOE loan program was originally designed to lose money. You don't innovate without taking chances. However, only four out of several dozen ventures failed, and the loan program has already turned a profit.
mudbug: When the 'Stimulus' was approved, many thought that was a one time thing... Wrong!
The ARRA was a one-time thing spread over several years.
mudbug: After a few hundred bills that were passed in the House ...
It makes no sense for the House to pass bills that they know have no chance of becoming law.
Why not? Why can't we make a change in Central America(give up on Mexico). I propose two solutions to the problem of immigration:
1. Refuse to send any more US money to either Mexico or Central America. In place of sending cash -- send in teams of young doctors working off their student loans. Build our own medical facilities in a 3 mile wide buffer area on their side of the border. Care for their sick in our own facilities. Of course we would have to use our own military to protect those blocked off neutral areas on their side of the border. Anyone working in those facilities can live inside "the zone". Anyone caught selling drugs, or any gang members get processed in US courts. My point is this. We are not addressing the core reasons for immigration. FEAR, HUNGER, NO HOPE. These are the reasons they come to the US. We should step across the border and create a neutral zone for their own people, but control the funds and put that money to good use within those "safe zones". After all--we do send our military to Iraq, Afghanistan to do the same thing "protect the civilians and free them from local gangs". Why not do the same thing south of the border?
The Real Problem with Common Core
Common core is based upon two ideologies of convenience. That is to say to quick and dirty solutions the liberals created to address deep major problems in the class room. These "new ways of teaching" came up in the 1990's:
1. collaboration--force the brightest and best kids to drag the lesser of students along with them on shared projects--hopefully to a level of higher accomplishment. But in reality what happens is the smarter kids perform less and lazy kids get credit for a slightly higher level of accomplishment which they didn't do on their own. This has two benefits--it dumbs down the rich white kids, and uplifts the lazy,or poorly prepared students in the same classroom. In other words it removes self respect for accomplishment as a motive. It also remove any internal individualism (gosh how the dems hate that!)
The second benefit of this strategy (collaboration) is that the teacher has to work less and is judged by lower standards.
2. This second great education "discovery" is project based learning OMG--what a shock--project based learning is advertised to be learning by exploring real life problems. Of course the folks who created Common Core don't tell you that there are pre-determined, pre-approved "outcomes" to that process.
Read here for more info:
Please do go down and pick a subject (light blue print) and read what they are saying. Oh, and don't forget this is George Lucas own "think center". Of course, George has the credentials (he married a nice African/American gal). He also refused to put his new museum in San Francisco and will now build it in Chicago. m m m I wonder why?
What do Common Core and Obamacare share? Trillions of dollars spent on bad policy with no benefits to those who pay for it.
I have a friend who recently retired after working for about 40 years as a geologist for the oil industry all over America. He told me that there are oil wells that were capped off in the 80s, which were thought to be 'empty,' only to refill with oil decades later. No one knows the why or how of this...it just happened.
So I am doubtful of the link about oil and the depletion of the resource. Also, there are experts who are doubtful of the connection of oil resources to dinosaur and other animal remains. Instead, I have read that many believe the pressures within the earth create new oil all the time.
My grandfather was head geologist at a major gas & oil company for decades; he would agree with your friend.
He pointed out the renewed oil production at Eugene Island as an example that required rethinking of previous science:
I find it amusing that the "Will Republican Know-Nothings Torpedo Climate Progress?" article takes it as a matter of faith that the disasters of warming are going to occur...
And they won't allow comments.
One doesn't allow the faithful to be exposed to anything which might make them question their belief, after all.
The science is settled, after all - their malfunctioning models say so.
The Nation--Name-Calling is the first thing they do, when they don't want argument.
I thought Zach WAS the perfesser. He's obviously a misogynist, thinking she doesn't know what she's doing.
"Russian bombers to fly over the Gulf of Mexico. This is what happened last year in Central America."
It does my heart good to see Putin's Russia wasting money on such a pitiful display of impotence. Money they will not long have as the price of oil and gas drops and their customers find more reliable sources. Flying ancient bombers around the world as if they matter in the slightest. Poor Putin, his ego is so fragile. Heck, none of those aircraft would survive more than five minutes after takeoff if the shit really hit the fan. Putin is a paranoid ass.
The only proper response to the illegal immigration problem is to deport when caught. Fight the "citizenship" of illegals born in the U.S. of illegal parents. Fine any employer $1000 a day for each illegaa they employ. I would also require any employer hirng legal non-citizens pay a tax that would cover the cost of these emloyees that is now borne but citizens. Perhaps 10%-20% of their pay or $100 a day which ever is greater. It makes no sense to subsidize non-citizens taking jobs from citizens. I would like to see a complete and total end of immigration under a refugee status.