Monday, September 28, 2009

Obama Calls For More School

Obama's administration has renewed a call for more school hours, saying "Young people in other countries are going to school 25, 30 percent longer than our students here,"[Education Secretary Arne] Duncan told the AP. "I want to just level the playing field." The article states Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.

"Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas," the president said earlier this year. "Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom."

I reported on this previously in April and had discussions about it with people in RL. I was appalled that none of them were the slightest concerned about it. Seems that people would prefer their kids spend additional time with their omni-benevolent nanny. But on this latest article the AP provides a bit more information. Seems that the Asian countries do attend school more days per year, but spend less time each year than we do. From the article: Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests - Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days).

Perhaps Rep. Wilson would declare "You Lie" to Duncan and Obama on this. The facts show that 21 more days is only 11.67% longer in terms of days, but that in terms of hours the US has as many as 21.21% more contact hours. Sending our kids to the indoctrinators for more of the same is not going to help our kids be anything but more PC.

And if that wasn't enough, the costs are much higher. Extra time is not cheap. The Massachusetts program costs an extra $1,300 per student, or 12 percent to 15 percent more than regular per-student spending, said Jennifer Davis, a founder of the program. It received more than $17.5 million from the state Legislature last year. I dare say that the extra 12-15% is more than any States economy can bare right now. But no worries, Obama can just start providing bail outs to the States then. And then we can all start singing the latest school approved children's chorus "Joy to the world, Obama has come..."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Private Sector Unemployment 23%

Thanks to data from the BLS who gives the official unemployment rate of 9.7% we can give an approximation of the private sector under/unemployment rate which sits at 23% (22.978) Of course the data still shows that this is in fact a he-cession giving official rates of 10.1% unemployment for men vs 7.6 for women. Look for those numbers to diverge even more with the end of the construction season.

I found the below table regarding unemployment during the 1st Great Depression. Unemployment peaked at 24.9% in 1933 but was only 3.2% just three years earlier. We haven't seen that low an unemployment rate since 1952. The St. Louis Federal Reserve's "Fred" is kind enough to show that this "recession" is the longest since the Great Depression, and if you have a strong stomach, see the spike on the right hand side which is the increase in the monetary base.

Year -- Unemp. Rate
1929 -- 3.2%
1930 -- 8.7
1931 -- 15.9
1932 -- 23.6
1933 -- 24.9
1934 -- 21.7
1935 -- 20.1
1936 -- 16.9
1937 -- 14.3
1938 -- 19.0
1939 -- 17.2

Now looking at the above numbers and trying to compare them to our current situation is difficult because I do not have access to the number of public sector jobs at that time. Of course it is a fair assumption that the public sector grew by leaps and bounds at that time and one could make a reasonable assumption that the reason that the unemployment rate went down from its 1933 high is due in part to growth in the government sector. The extent to which that growth affects the unemployment rate is what is not known (to me at least.) But from my viewpoint we are looking at very similar rates of unemployment between the Great Depression and the Obama Depression. The early part of the last century the workforce was almost entirely in the private sector. There was an opportunity at that time to suck up a large amount of un/underemployed and put them to work in the public sector which of course is one of the ways the FedGov responded. But that is not such an easy option anymore as 1 in 3 jobs is a public sector job already. I don't think that it would be possible to get above 50% and even if it could be done it could not possibly be sustainable (without major exportation of natural resources.) Because of this I believe that we are on more fragile footing than we were at that time. There are less "easy" answers available to us since we used them up previously and never bothered to let those public sector people go back to private sector employment, plus not to mention all those who survive upon government money (retirees, social security, medicare, etc.)

For the record, to get to a private sector unemployment rate of 25% we would need to lose another 2.3 million jobs. I can't see that happening this year, but depending upon how christmas turns out we could potentially see that by late spring next year.

The so called experts are saying that we are now in a "fragile recovery" which I sincerely hope is true. I wouldn't bet on it, but I sure would like to see the economy recover.

Note, the BLS numbers are for August. I will try to post again once the September numbers come out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's All About Race Now

Burt Prelutsky writes "But merely as a public service, I thought I'd point out how to recognize if you're a racist. For instance, if you think that Jesse Jackson is an extortionist; that Al Sharpton is a con man; that Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright and Van Jones are three of a kind; and that the Black Congressional Caucus, ACORN, the SEIU, the Black Panthers, Eric Holder and Barack Hussein Obama, present a clear and present danger to our republic, you are what passes for a racist in 2009."

From even a cursory reading of the opinion columnists this is indeed the case. The pundits are calling EVERY disagreement with Obama as being based in racism. Disagree with bailouts? Racist! Disagree with health care "reform"? Racist! Worried about never ending spending/debt? Racist! Its not only tiring, its quickly losing its value as a way of stopping public discussion and will soon lose the social stigma attached to it. The boy who cried wolf comes to mind. Cry about it too many times when its not true and soon the townsfolk will ignore you.

Actually, as painful as the process of hearing the same tired canard ad nauseum is, depowering the word "racist" will actually further the goals of freedom. The sooner these key "conversation enders" become worthless, the sooner public discourse can begin again. But until it does lose its kick, I personally plan to cry racist every time a black person disagrees with a white person. It won't be true, but its been shown that truth need not be considered when painting someone as racist.

Update: Michael Barone writes "American liberals, unused to hearing dissent, have an impulse to shut it down." These are the "conversation enders" I was writing about.

Update 2: Had to add this pic

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Acorn: Symptom of Post-Christianity

I haven't been paying a huge amount of attention to the whole Acorn scandals. I already know it is corrupt, so whats new? But with the latest revelations by two brave souls going undercover to uncover their corruption can't be ignored. Quite frankly, its appalling!

For those not in the know, Acorn has been exposed has helping a pimp to setup prostitution and take the profits for use in an upcoming political campaign. WorldNetDaily has an article with video. The Acorn employee talks about murdering her ex-husband (San Bernardino is currently investigating this woman's claim of homicide) and talks about her past experience running an "escort" business. Worse (and considering the above includes murder that is really hard to do!) she is told that they plan to import underage girls to use as sex slaves and she isn't even fazed by it! She just goes on as if they said they prefer chocolate ice-cream over vanilla. No, nothing objectionable here, unless you are some right wing kook. She also states, in affect, that its only the right-wing that would object to running a brothel. But "Um, cuz if they were liberal they would be helping you" (Transcript here)

So what does this have to do with Post-Christianity? It has to do with something Vox has written about. Women in a Post-Christian society will face the choice of the brothel or the burqah. Of course its important to note that the women will not be given the option of which to choose. Essentially this boils down to women losing the protections and rights that Christianity has afforded them (tho I think its obvious that they don't appreciate it) and that void that it leaves. To paraphrase, society abhors a vacuum. Either a stronger culture will fill the void (e.g. Islam) or baser human instincts. Currently we are experiencing the latter but that is the weaker of the two and will eventually be replaced by a stronger society.

I think it is telling that the women in Acorn have no problem with selling 13 underage foreign girls into sexual slavery. Heck, they'll even help you hide the business and figure out how to get the best tax loops. Will women one day look back at feminism and curse it for destroying the faith that protected them? Or the better question is, just how soon will women have that opportunity to curse it?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ten Strong Things

Found this and thought I'd share

Ten strong things have been created in the world.

The rock is hard, but the iron cleaves it.
Iron is hard, but the fire softens it.
Fire is strong, but the water quenches it.
Water is strong, but the clouds bear it.
Clouds are strong, but the wind disperses them.
Wind is strong, but the body bears it.
The body is strong, but fear crushes it.
Fear is strong, but wine banishes it.
Wine is strong, but sleep makes one sober.
And death is stronger than all of these.

Tsedeka, however, saves one from death."

--as it is written in Proverbs 10:2--
"Tsedeka (Charity, generosity or righteousness)
delivers from death.

Friday, September 18, 2009

US Apportionment

WND is reporting on a lawsuit on behalf of Citizens of several States (website) regarding the discrepancy in representation in the House of Representatives. This is something that I have blogged on in the past, tho it was simply an idea in my head at the time. Perhaps they found my previous post?

Anyways, the suit brings up the fact that the 435 number was fixed in 1911 which was a good year for firearms, but not so much for representation. Since that year the population has increased continuously while the numbers of those represented by a single congressman increased tremendously. In 1910 the census gives us a ration of 212,020:1 Since then it has grown over three times that to nearly 650,000:1. But that isn't the main reason for this suit tho it is a reason.

The main reason is that some states are comparatively "over-represented." WND's article on the suit gives the following quote from the organizations website "In simple terms, it took 1.83 Montana voters to equal just 1 Wyoming voter, which is grossly unfair." They suggest that increasing the number of representatives to 1,761 would decrease that ratio to 1.11:1. This would also reduce the representation ratio to 159,809. Not quite as radical as my plan of 5,000 but I'd settle for this smaller number. It would still have the benefits listed in my previous post and be a sight deal better than what we have today.

Gov Spending Priorities

Most rational people already know that government has screwed-up priorities which are in many cases bought by special interests and paid for by the people. we gave out hundreds of billions to bankers for their part in the bubble, favored the auto unions over everyone involved in the used car market (parts, service, sales, and owners) and giving the lions share of "stimulus" money to female dominated markets during this He-cession. And lets not forget that this administration is championing Cap and Trade which would cost a trillion+ dollars but do nothing but destroy what is left of the American economy.

So in light of that, I read an AP report of the mercury mines in California that are releasing a tremendous amount of pollution into the water, ground and air. This causes "day-glo orange" streams and rivers to run into the larger waterways contaminating the food supply especially for the poorer residents who fish and hunt those lands. California produced ~90% of the mercury in the US and now there are between 550-2000 open mines that are polluting the water ways and there have been, apparently, only efforts at cleaning up ~10 such mines. But not to worry. Mining only stopped decades ago in California so we know that the gov is getting right on it as evidenced by this quote from Daniel Meer, EPA's assistant Superfund director for the region. "We are here to protect the environment, and sometimes we do it better than other times. We can't start cleaning up everything all at once." Oh, well that means they are working on it tho right? Let's see
what else Meer has to say: "It took a hundred years to occur," said the EPA's Meer. "And it may take a hundred years or more to solve." Well, there you have it. Gov moving with alacrity at protecting the citizenry from existing threats to the environment. With this kind of response I think we can all be proud of how our Gov will be able to solve AGW.

We could have paid off people's mortgages instead of paying bankers for being bankers. We could have spent the "stimulus" money on projects like infrastructure which is needed, and we could be looking at cleaning up real environmental problems rather than the bogey man of global warming. If I wasn't already so cynical about government I'd be appalled at how it pays off its special interests and wants the people to pay for things that do not benefit anyone but those interests. But as things stand, cynicism pays and pays well.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Microsoft Certified


I did get it too late to get a Bill Gates signed certificate. I guess Steve Balmer will just have to do.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Crash Diet Retards

This article about a UK diet plan by LighterLife makes me shake my head and wonder at these people. The LL plan is, simply put, a starvation plan. Its 14 weeks at 530 calories a day. Shockingly, dieters report that they lose weight while starving their bodies of the basic nutrition it needs! And of course after losing all that weight many gain it all back and then some.

The story goes on to describe how some of the dieters end up dead or with numerous health problems, including one lady who lost so much weight that the fat deposits behind her eyes that support the eye muscle were depleted resulting in her inability to see straight and then she had to have her gall bladder removed. And what does she do? She goes on the diet again! Making her problems even worse! If this is not the definition of a retard I don't know what is?

The body needs somewhere between 1200-1500 calories just for an average sized person to lie in bed all day! That's basic maintenance on muscle, organs, brain and even fat that is used up regardless of whether or not you actually move your body around at all. And then on top of that the very food you eat requires calories to process it and turn it into something your body can use. Oh, and if you don't get sufficient calories, especially over a long time period, you send your metabolism into starvation mode and it will do everything it can to pack on weight so that it has stores should you ever again be in a starvation situation aka LighterLife diet.

Want to lose weight?
Eat sensible. Cut out the crap foods like soda, chips, ice-cream, burgers, fries and the megabucks coffees. Replace that with fresh fruits and veggies. Then go get a good nights sleep (7+hours) and do some physical exercise. I recommend starting off with pushups, pull-ups and squats. Oh, and its the weight bearing (aka muscle building) exercises that will burn fat. Cardio is good, but there is a reason for the saying "fat girls do cardio, models lift weights." After all, its muscle that burns fat, even when you are resting. If you build ten pounds of muscle (which is easier than it sounds[for the first ten anyways]) it will burn thru a pound almost every week just in daily maintenance. Transformetrics is a good place to learn simple, effective and low-cost muscle building exercises. I recommend them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kayaking the Nisqually Delta

Today Little Bear and I went to the Nisqually Delta. The delta is near Olympia Washington and abuts the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge which is about 3000 acres. It is used by some 275 species of birds which itself would be a treat for the nature lover.

We started off in the morning and launched in near glass still waters. The tide was coming in but while the current could be seen there were no waves, just a steady inpouring of water. We started of heading up river from the launch site at Luhr Beach and had not been in for even ten minutes when a bald eagle flew overhead. Unfortunately I wasn't able to pull out the camera but as it turns out that eagle is very active there and I was able to get pictures of him later on. After that we came across the first of two families of harbor seals. They all dropped in the water before we got close and despite staying still and quiet (quite the feat for a 3y/o) they wouldn't come out of the water. Worse, if you turned to look at them they would immediately dive so I wasn't able to get good pictures. But then I came across one that while wary was not so worried about us as to stop sunning.

We went in our sit on top kayak of course, a Malibu Two XL, which gives us great stability and lots of open area which I think is great for us, but I can't wait to get a more performance oriented kayak as the Malibu is somewhat of a lumbering beast. Its great for what I am using it for but I look with no small amount of envy at those with sleek kayaks that cut thru the water with little effort and make much better speed than I can.

All in all we were treated to blue heron, canadian geese, numerous species of ducks, a puffin and my first ever sighting of a bald eagle! And somewhere between 16-20 seals. Quite the sightings for a single trip. And with all the deciduous trees its on the list of places to go back to this fall. Well, thats for another day. Anyways, enjoy the pics.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

As I noted in a May 1st post, soft tissue had been found in an alleged 65 million year old T-Rex. Well, in the Sept. 4th 2009 issue of Journal of Proteome Research is a report of an independent study of the bone marrow found seven peptides from collagen and apparently traces from hemoglobin.

In similar news, a fossil of a supposedly 150 million year old squid-like creature was found with an intact ink sac. But more than just intact, it was still usable as ink which was used to draw the below picture.

The UK Daily Mail notes that this same area was one of the first in the world to yield fossils of fragile muscle and stomach tissue.