Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Economics of Life

There's a poll that occurred. It was a couple of basic questions over economics given to folks of various political situations (far left liberal to middle-of-the-road guy, to the far-right-wing guy). The questions:

1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (If you were a liberal....you'd disagree...but the reality is that licensing increases cost).

2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (If you were a liberal....you'd disagree....but if you look around, things are a bit better than your dad ever dreamed of).

3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (If you were a liberal....you'd disagree, but you can examine New York City and find examples where rent control does little to fix shortages).

4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (If you were a liberal...you'd agree, but the problem is that you can't compare things in the market in such a manner...real life doesn't work this way).

5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (If you were a liberal, you agree, but you start to find higher standards of living in Mexico, China, and South Korea.....and it's hard to get folks there to admit they feel exploited).

6) Free trade leads to unemployment (If you were a liberal....you'd agree, but then you can't cite a single case where restricted trade leads to employment....the opposite of the statement, if you think about it).

7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (If you are a liberal....you'd disagree...but when you actually talk to real owners of companies and businesses....from small to large....they all indicate that minimum wage increases always drag up a review of hiring future employees. There's not a magic formula to this business concept of hiring).

The curious thing....from a ecnomic expert standpoint....liberal folks tended to get the answers wrong more often than anyone else.

So the question here is.....do liberals have a lack of understanding over economics? For most folks getting a liberal arts degree....a class or two in economics....is not required.

If you have liberal friends....ever noticed that a discussion on "bad banks"....is kinda limited in scope? If you ask how they got "bad".....they can recite two bullets from some show they watched last night but they can't remember anything beyond that. Then you ask how taxes relate to the government...and the discussion kinda dies right there.

So....it goes.


There was a short note today from professional baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks, of Phoenix....announced that post-game concert with Daryl Hall and John Oates had been cancelled for 2 July.

The reason? Hall and Oats that they had issues with the Arizona stance against the new immigration law.

What's funny here...is that it's been twenty-five years since they had a hit (1985) and you have to be forty-five years old to remember these two guys. They had a brief two-year blast in the 70's and then came back for a five-year period with maybe seven or eight hits which ended in 1985.

Nobody really remembers the duo.

So when they come out with a stance like this...most folks are asking who are they and how'd they even get hired....and not discuss the impact of Hall and Oats on the immigration discussion.

Modern Day Mud-Slinging Politics

In the old days...you could sling mud amongst political candidates and it was real simple. You'd say something half-true, or half-false...then find a newspaper to accept your word...and you'd cut a quarter of your competition's standing. It was simple.

Today....well....things have changed.

In recent weeks...in South Carolina...there's been mud-slinging amongst Republicans (can you imagine that?). The lady candidate for GOP governor candidate is Nikki Haley. The other candidate is from the old-fashioned school of Republican gentlemen players.

The accusation used against Nikki Haley? An affair. After the episode with the Argentine gal....anybody whispering an affair typically gets an audience.

To make things interesting...the local Fox News channel there in South Carolina...decided to get involved in this mess. So they found the guy who started the rumor.....who happens to be a lobbyist (Larry Marchant). They talked Larry into taking a polygraph test back up his claim.

Larry's test results? "Inconclusive.” The test chief says that there is no indication that Larry was being untruthful in his answers. But the test really didn't settle anything.

So mud-slinging has come down to this? Polygraph tests? Now folks will have to lie openly in public and then try their best to lie via a polygraph test? Man, this political business is getting tougher as we speak.

Helen Thomas, The Ending

My impression of the Helen Thomas story?

She came to be a reporter in 1943. Her glory days? From the early 1950s to the late 1970s. I recall at some point in the Reagan era.....reading several of her columns over a one-month period. They were all judgmental in nature....take two facts....and somehow fitting three hundred words around them to fill up the column. It was all anti-Reagan. After about a dozen of these columns....I came to the conclusion of avoiding them.

I suspect that she basically peaked out in the mid-1980s. She was coasting along....without much in terms of four-star reporting left in her.

She should have retired in the early 1990s. She didn't.

For the past twenty years....she's been hanging on and writing columns that a 20-year old kid could write. The AP? I suspect that they were paying her in the range of $100k a year. Call it a working pension or just a "gift".....but she just lingered on.

She could have moved to Florida and enjoyed retirement....writing a book every two years. She could have the simple act of retiring at her peak back in the 1990s. But she didn't.

Her comments on the Jews? It was stupid and judgmental. It's funny....she hasn't changed since the Regan era. A reporter can't really say things like this and expect to keep their respect.

Today, she's finished. She resigned and can finally act retired. Those who defend her? Go for it. Show your judgmental side. Helen became an accomplished wannabe journalist....by going beyond the facts, and then acting judgmental. Maybe you can show your wannabe talents as well.

Chrysler & Toyota Comparison

If you didn't notice today....without much mention on the Today Show, MSNBC, or New York Times.....Chrysler is recalling 600,000 vehicles (brake failure and accelerator sticking).

Hmmm....sounds familiar?

Covers Jeep Wranger, Town & Country, and Grand Caravan.

Strange how Toyota gets mentioned....but Chrysler has accelerator sticking and nobody says anything on the Today Show?

John Mark Karr

The weird guy from Bama....John Mark Karr....who at one point was accused of being the Jon Benot Ramsey kidnapper....came up in the news in the past week.

If you don't remember the entire story.....this guy is a weird kinky guy of guy.....who came to be suspected in the kidnapping and murder case. Cops in Thailand ended up arresting him and US cops brought him back to the US. He wouldn't ever deny anything....but they eventually realized that he wasn't the guilty party.

Well....he kinda disappeared for a while. Then it came up that he had some relationship with a 15-year old girl. Things went downhill, and then he kinda disappeared again.

This past week, some woman at the Paris airport....came to realize the woman in the bathroom with her....was really a guy....and a conversation started up. You'd think that a guy in the women's bathroom would worry most women.....but this is Paris, and folks don't worry (don't ask).

So she asked stupid questions and learned that this was John Mark Karr. He'd had some hormone-like stuff done and he looked kinda on the female side. Well....as much as a guy from Bama can look female, you know.

She took a picture. Then upon arriving in the US.....she looked up some Gosssip folks, and got onto some entertainment update piece. The cops came to be interested. John Mark Karr had visited his folks for a couple of days.....and then disappeared after the cops arrived.

I sat and thought over this story for a while.

I'm a traveler.....and I use a passport when traveling.....you have to if you want to travel overseas.

Some parts of this story don't work. He had to enter the US with a passport.....and the TSA folks didn't spot this guy or notice the passport? Is he traveling via a fake passport? Does he have citizenship via another country? Is he living in France?

No, this story just doesn't make sense to me. But you know.....I really don't care. This Karr guy is weird...for even Bama standards.

My View (Humbly)

So Friday, this seven-year old kid from Skyline Elementary School, about fifty miles west of Portland....came to disappear. It's an interesting case.

The kid, Kyron Horman, came to school with his step-mom....attended a science fair at the elementary school, and then Mom saw him leave and start walking toward his classroom at 0845 roughly. The kid never made it home on the bus, and the parents came to call the school. The cops then got called. And the kid has been missing since Friday morning.

I pulled up this episode, and started looking at the map, the story, and the few facts.

This school is a five-classroom basic school, with a small gym. There's a parking lot toward the rear. The place is fairly isolated and in a farming district. There's open fields on all four corners. About half-a-mile away is a corner grocery and gas station. It's in the rural region.

The school says no one saw the kid after the science fair.....so he never made it to his classroom.

For him to walk and disappear....he'd have to walk five hundred feet out the backdoor and then venture into a pine forest (take a look at the image). I spent a fair amount of time looking at this image today....it's a tiny school. For a kid to walk out....he'd have to walk along the highway, and someone would have noticed him.

Frankly, I've come to a point.....I don't believe the step-mom in this case. I think that she escorted the kid quietly out a side door to the vehicle and left with him. It's a small school and small parking lot. The odds are that you could easily walk him to the vehicle and leave with him. I think the step-mom took him and an accident (or whatever), then occurred.

Evidence? No....none. But after you gaze at the overhead imagery and look at options for some kid to walk away or be noticed leaving....it doesn't exist. Strangers in the area? They'd be noticed.

It would be curious what kind of vehicle Mom drove to school, and if it's been checked for blood stains. I'm guessing they haven't gotten to the point of doubting her....yet. Maybe I'm wrong....but the more I stare at the overhead shot and the small school in question.....I just don't believe Mom's story.