Thursday, July 21, 2005

More Morons

I had a guy tell me, in my own house, that

I don’t think 9/11 would have happened if Clinton was in office”.

My reply,

“Didn’t they try to blow up the WTC in 1993 when he was in office???? Didn’t they try to blow up the same damn building?”

He is lucky that I don’t put his pic on the blog!!!!

Maybe I need a Bill O’Reilly type doormat that says - The Marginalizing Starts Here. It is hilarious when my wife almost does something that is questionable and I threaten to put her on my blog if she does. Just kidding sweatheart.

Of course she doesn't read my blog because "I LIVE YOUR (bleepin') BLOG".

Why have feminists been reduced to a mere “nuisance”, only being taken seriously at places like Harvard? Well, when consensual sex is considered rape:

“Many feminists would argue that so long as women are powerless relative to men, viewing a ‘yes’ as a sign of true consent is misguided…”

That was uttered by none other than Susan Estrich (frequent guest of fox news, law professor, and former Dukakis campaign chairPERSON.)

Rosie O'Donnell banned her lover from breastfeeding their baby. She wins worst mom of the year, hands down.

In 1999, the Bank of England told the whole world they were going to sell over half of their gold bullion holdings. The advertising was as deft as playing poker with a publicized hand. The gold market dumped and they sold most of it around $273 per ounce. Today gold is over $425 per ounce. Had they held it, they would be $1.5 billion richer. It seems that confiscatory taxes weren't sufficient for the British politicians - they had to plunder the nation's hard assets as well.

CaptiousNut should be noted here too. He sold 40 gold contracts at $260 in 1999. Playing the hindsight game, had I held these for 6 long years, I'd have $660,00 more.

Tim Wirth, while an adviser to President Clinton said,

“We’ve got to ride the global-warming issues. Even if the theory is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”

More whitewashing. The CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) which is heavily subsized by the Canadian government has decided to not refer to the events of 9/11 as a terrorist attack.

Instead, they prefer "the destruction of the World Trade Center".

Very nice and neighborly.

Yeah, a sign would have saved your son. It is always someone else’s fault, especially in Boston.

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was up for Supreme Court nomination in 1993, she had a wee bit of egg on her face. In a line of questioning from Senator Orrin Hatch, she asserted that a business would be guilty of racism simply by statistical measures, i.e. not employing minorities equal to the proportion living in its community.

With that, Senator Hatch informed her that in her many years serving on the D.C. Court of Appeals, she had hired 57 employees – none of whom was black!!!! (D.C. is around 90% black)

Apparently, laws are only for the little people.

Last night, I went out to dinner with a guy who was visiting Charlotte on business. When the restaurant bill came, he suggested we don’t leave a tip because,

“we are never going to be back (to this restaurant)....”

Now this guy is college educated and has a management level position at Fortune 500 company. Where does his obvious social and economic ignorance come from? Well he is a lifetime Bostonian. Born, raised, attended college there and never really been anywhere else. I have dined out with countless people all over the country and have yet to witness anything like this guy. I know plenty of cheap tippers and whatnot, but this guy was out with 5 other people that he barely knew (new colleagues) and while otherwise completely normal, polite, civil, professional, etc., he made his suggestion with ease and was totally blind to how others might perceive it. Clearly, he runs in circles where such practice is prevalent. I guess to these people, a tip is not part of the restaurant tab, but rather simply insurance against the staff spitting in your food on the next visit.

Prediction: Once I move to Boston (two weeks hence), I will barely have to open my eyes and ears to fill up this blog with such examples of economic illiteracy.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tax Cuts and Dissembling "Economists"

A big headline recently was that federal tax revenues have made a big jump. They have been coming in far above all projections and up are 15% overall from last year.

But no one can report this on the simple level that I just did. The Bush administration wants to attribute part of it to tax cut stimulation and its opponents are digging deep to spin their retort.

The most common spin attempt is simply omission. Just as most media outlets have ignored the positive action in the stock market, they have also turned a blind eye towards this favorable tax news. Of course the media will ignore whatever they want for a variety of reasons. Some may deem positive economic news to be too boring while others may be pushing political agendas, be they socialist, anti-Bush or whatever. Thankfully, the press, for all its ills, is mostly unregulated in this country.

I have heard more than a few times, that every time marginal income taxes were cut, tax revenues have increased dramatically. So my curiosity was piqued and I did some minimal research. Apparently there have been three major instances of marginal tax rate cuts: President Coolidge in the 1920s, followed by President Kennedy in the 1960s and then President Reagan in the 1980s. In all three cases, tax revenues immediately jumped drastically.

Only on a surface level would this seem counterintuitive. After all, how could lowering rates possibly raise revenue if everyone was supposedly going to pay less tax than the year before? The answer is that tax policies are dynamic – meaning that they actually alter the way people behave, work, and invest. The US economy is not a static pie but rather a growing dynamic one. Lower taxes motivate people to work more, invest more, take business risks, realize capital gains, etc. It has worked every time.

I think President Bush’s tax cuts were smaller than other presidents’, and this is certainly a subject of debate for some idling economists. I also think that Bush’s cuts are really just offsetting some of the creeping Alternative Minimum Tax. But this line of thinking is purely speculative and absolutely un-provable.

But I discovered a few interesting things while researching this blog. First, in line with my contention that the media is ignoring the increased tax revenue story, I had a hard time finding a link to a basic news summary of it. I couldn’t believe it.

Next, when I googled “tax cuts increase revenue”, the first non-news link that comes up is this, described as “A liberal essay rebutting the myth that tax cuts increase tax collections. ...”

How is this significant? Well a little lesson about Google search results. Google does rank sites on keyword matches, but also on how many times they are hit and hyperlinked to in other sites. What my search told me was that this link is currently (search results change over time) a prominent and popular destination. Furthermore, this link was followed by several similar essays, all denouncing “supply-side” economics.

I was very surprised, given the recent news of higher tax revenues, that all of these links dominated the search results. It would be like googling Tiger Woods after he won his second major tournament this year and being led to websites declaring that he was in a slump.

But anyway I visited a few of these sites and read a bunch of studies and essays similar to the one hyperlinked above. Many seem quite convincing and authoritative at first, but a mere two minutes of thinking revealed their flaws to me. They all start out with dubious assumptions. From the link above: “assume the economy always grows X percent”, “let’s adjust for inflation”, “assume a normal business cycle of X years”, etc. And then carry on to some pretty complicated, yet convoluted thinking.

What all of these “studies” had in common was they all looked out about 10 years from the time of the cuts. Basically, the salutary short term effects were so obvious they had to widen the sample period to try to prove their theses. But this completely invalidates them, once you look out ten years, you introduce so many more variables that all claims so derived are FUNDAMENTALLY AND CATEGORICALLY FLAWED.

Since the tax cuts of the early 1980s there was a real estate market hiccup, the end of the Cold War, massive increases in federal entitlement spending, demographic shifts, etc. Where does this stop? Is the 2015 recession going to be blamed on Reagan’s tax cuts? It is pretty ridiculous that this passes for academic research.

Much of economic theory seems to have been hijacked by highfalutin propagandists.

Anyone that thinks taxes aren’t anathema to economic growth is living in la-la land. Marginal tax cuts have been associated with short term economic recovery now all four times they have been tried.

I was surprised to learn that the top marginal rate was as high as 70% when Reagan came in to office. Can you imagine getting a $10,000 bonus and only seeing $3,000 of it after taxes? And the rates were even higher between 1936 and 1962.

My wife’s father was in the real estate business and it was almost a rule that whenever he sold one building, he would immediately parlay the proceeds into another. I just assumed that this was a small tax avoidance strategy to avoid capital gains, but now I realize how huge and necessary this tax deferment was, given the exorbitant tax rates of yesteryear. It is called a 1031 Exchange, and they are still extremely popular now with today's hot real estate market, even though top marginal tax rates are half what they once were.

Politicians, and far too many of their constituents, just don’t understand the basic laws of taxation. Consider the Russian oil industry. It accounts for 11% of world output. Now one would think with $60 oil, the Russian oil companies would be swimming in cash and ramping up exploration and development. But they are not. Some companies, such as Sibneft, actually are spending less money on exploration than they were spending with oil $20 per barrel lower, 2 years ago. The culprit is a 89% Russian marginal tax rate. Why dig something up if the government is just going to confiscate it via taxes.

If income tax rates were 100%, nobody would work. So as tax rates drop from 100%, the incentives to earn income rise and thus so does tax revenue. The point of diminishing returns is just frankly not known. Some surmise that it is drastically lower than today’s rate of 35% and I would be inclined to lean this way. I think some of the developing Eastern European countries have instituted much lower flat taxes and so far the evidence is supporting my hypothesis. This I will have to look into.

Tax cuts are great..... If only we could slow goverment spending.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

More Economic Illiteracy and a Hillary Cameo

A few years ago my wife was in need of an air conditioner. Her friend/neighbor informed her that another building tenant was coincidently trying to sell his. So my wife went up to see it. The seller wanted $150, my wife bid $130 (don’t ever say “offered”, the buyer “bids” and the seller “offers”), and the air conditioner changed hands at $130.

My wife went home and communicated the sale to that facilitating friend/neighbor of hers. My wife was quite happy with her procurement and described the very simple bidding process. Well guess what, her friend/neighbor became furious and claimed that it was unfair and deceitful to underbid the offer. She declaimed, “if you could afford $150, then you should have paid $150 !!!!!” Of course , my wife was taken aback by the no longer latent stupidity of now, just her neighbor.

“Pay what you can afford” or “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need” - a central tenet of socialism.

Next exhibit of economic illiteracy and somewhat of a corollary to the forementioned:

As a busy mother of a newborn, my wife found a forum, charlotte mommies, to be quite helpful. She would post questions pertaining to local pediatricians, daycare, teething, etc. and was almost overwhelmed with the enormity of instantaneous and helpful replies she would get. The site was truly a great find.

Of course, sometimes the posters got slightly off-topic. One “mommy” posted a tearful message that she had caught her husband cheating and with two small kids at home, she didn’t know what to do. Well that comment thread exploded right away. It was quite amazing to see the “reply” number jump into the hundreds.

Since we were moving to Boston, my wife sought out and found a similar forum for Boston mothers. Now consider this off-topic post from a Boston “mommy”:

“Does anyone know what the going rate is for maid service? ….I think I am underpaying mine…”

Do you think this woman throws in a few extra bucks when her steak at Outback is particularly tasty? Or pays 50 cents extra at the Mass Pike toll booth because the road is clean? (No way she is smart enough to have EZ-Pass or Fast Lane)?

This “mommy” thinks she is being compassionate by presuming that her maid is so damn stupid as to be unable to discern a fair wage for herself. Boston is not like rural Brazil or anything – despite being the anti-business exemplar; there are plenty of other job opportunities for this UN-exploited maid.

This “mommy” would definitely vote for William Galvin for governor.

Now for today’s last example of economic illiteracy that will certainly “one-up” its predecessors:

Hillary Clinton speaking to her “choir” in Aspen. From the Weekly Standard,

Hillary wasn't done giving us her mad moments in her Aspen Ideas Festival speech (and don't think Mad wouldn't have a field day with the concept of an Ideas Festival, either). Later in her remarks, she delivered this eye-popping economic analysis for the Colorado audience: "Ours will be the last generation to rely so exclusively on fossil fuels." She added that the "ups and downs of the global oil market cost the U.S. economy $7 trillion last year . . . almost enough to pay off our entire national debt."

Seven trillion dollars? That would surprise most economists, as well as Mad magazine readers who learned both to question authority and check sources, since the entire American GDP for 2004 amounted to $11.735 trillion according to the BEA; $1.5 trillion came from imports of goods. Energy goods (both domestic and imported) only accounted for $250 billion, making it extremely unlikely that price fluctuations in a single import commodity market could have generated anywhere near the kind of economic damage Senator Clinton cited.

Ignore the vapid global warming rhetoric and consider the ridiculous $7 trillion number she threw out there. It wouldn’t be near accurate to call her economically illiterate – I am going to have to search for a new term, maybe on a psychiatric website.

Given the long memory of today's de-monopolized internet media, I can't believe any aspiring politician would utter such nonsense. But I can see why Hillary likes to ban the (free) press from her "choir" fundraisers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

William Galvin - Poster Child for Economic Illiteracy

William Galvin is the perfect poster child for economic illiteracy.

He is hellbent on holding up the Gillette/Proctor & Gamble merger. He was just on CNBC today trying to justify his meddling and it would have been laughable if not so infuriating.


Procter & Gamble and Gillette have agreed to a merger, with near unanimous shareholder approval on both sides. Yet, the politically aspiring Secretary of State William Galvin has made it his personal crusade to interfere with this deal.

Gillette is based in Massachusetts and the dim-witted Galvin claims he is looking out for the best interests of Gillette employees and stockholders. First of all, there is no audience for this tired rhetoric denouncing any and all forms of layoffs, even the imaginary ones yet to take place. What these fossilized politicians need to realize is that it is 2005, not 1932. The economy is more dynamic, as is the labor force. People today will have on average seven jobs in their careers.

Never mind that layoffs are the essence of a flexible and innovative economy. Galvin needs to go look at the French and German economies to see what overly protective job legislation does to an economy. Furthermore, the buyouts and unemployment benefits in Massachusetts are so generous they approximate hitting a scratch ticket. (I have detailed this in a previous blog on the Fleet merger.)

But this layoff talk is just a ruse, Galvin is not protecting the “little people” as he purports. He is hiding behind them or more accurately exploiting them to springboard clich├ęd business bashing and his own political aspirations.

The CNBC crew really shredded him today. Paraphrasing:

Galvin: “Procter and Gamble is just going to cut and run (Gillette)….”
Becky Quick: “But isn’t Warren Buffet for the merger? He has never been a cut-and-run guy….”
Galvin: “Well, he is conflicted…”
Becky Quick: “Yeah, but he is the largest shareholder of Gillette and very excited about the merger…”

Apparently Galvin knows better than Buffet what he should do with HIS Gillette shares !!

CNBC Guest: “If I have a house and want to sell it for $2 million, are you going to step in and say, no – that house is worth $2.3 million, you have to sell it for that?”
Galvin: “In that case I would look out for the seller..."
Galvin: “eerrr…..ahhhh….. (stammering)”

David Faber: “Why are you blocking this deal when all the shareholders want it?”
Galvin: “Because the price is too low for Gillette….”
David Faber: “No offense, but you aren’t an analyst, you are a politician. How do you know what Gillette is worth?”
Galvin: “We have done an independent study that shows Gillette is worth $22 billion more. Gillette is selling out too cheap…”

This is it; Galvin’s last statement gets him automatic induction into the Economic Illiteracy Hall of Shame.

At the time of the initial merger announcement, investors from all over the world were valuing Gillette at $45 billion. Proctor & Gamble will end up paying $57 billion for the company. Yet Thomas Galvin alone has the perspicacity to see the true value of Gillette at $79 billion. There is a multiple choice of modifiers to describe such thinking: intellectual arrogance, bullshit, sophistry, ..etc.

About Galvin’s statement, “…selling out too cheap…”

David Faber: “But they are not selling out. Gillette is getting .975 shares of P&G. Won’t Gillette shareholders participate in the continued growth of P&G?”
Galvin: “….errr…ahhh….too cheap….selling out….$22 billion….the reputation of my office…blah….blah….(continued stammering).”

Let me illustrate the kink in Galvin’s $22 billion argument.

Consider that maybe P&G is “undervalued” as well. If undervalued by more than $23 billion, then maybe Gillette is being overpaid. Hey Galvin, did you do an “independent” valuation of Proctor & Gamble? See, one could throw the fanciful valuation game right back in your face, IDIOT.

The only little guy Thomas Galvin is looking out for is himself. He is an Eliot Spitzer wannabe. That pic above is from his own site and pretty much encapsulates all there is to know about him and his "conflicted" ambitions.

Unfortunately, Galvin’s economic illiteracy is representative of way too much of Massachusetts. A virulent anti-business climate and graying population don’t bode well for the state’s future. I can’t believe I have to move back there.

Buy Small, Sell Big

It is getting zero news coverage (MSM bias of omission?), but last week small and midcap stock indices reached all-time highs. Yes, you heard me right. While most investors are weighed down by the stocks of the last bull run, the Russell 2000 and S&P Mid-Cap indices are percolating.

Why are those large cap funds and indices not participating? The answer is simple math. A huge portion of these stocks are represented by Cisco, Oracle, Intel, Sun Microsystems, IBM, General Electric, Microsoft, etc. Those stocks are all trading near 1999 levels.

Here is a little investment math. If a mutual fund manager had a big stake in say Microsoft in the early 1990s, as that stock exploded, his fund would of course benefit. But since Microsoft was appreciating so much, its percentage of the mutual fund’s total investment would keep rising. (Microsoft has appreciated to 144 times its IPO price.)

Invariably that fund manager would have to pare back his MSFT shares. Mutual funds, by law must adhere to their prospectuses which limit individual stock exposure to a certain percentage. So while MSFT, EBAY, CSCO, etc. were doubling every six months or so, these fund managers were forced to sell their best performing stocks. How much sense does that make?

The S&P 500 index benefited from the other side of this math. As Dell, GE, SUNW, etc. appreciated, their index weights grew as well. So index funds were not forced to sell their best performers and in fact benefited disproportionately. These are the intrinsic workings of a market-capitalization weighted index and they wholly explain the underperformance of mutual funds during the last bull market.

Recently, the additions to the S&P 500 have not zoomed into positions of market leadership, a la 1997-2000. So what we have is top heavy index funds and a bunch of sheep mutual fund managers who are afraid to diverge too far from the index averages.

So the large cap averages probably won’t do much until we have a bunch of new companies displace these slow growth stocks of yesteryear. Right now it looks like Google is the only prospect and that won’t be enough.

Google update: Google Search is still gaining share at the expense of MSN Search and Yahoo. I think it will soon have an unassailable market position similar to EBAY.

I may be the polar opposite of a blue-collar homeowner, yet Home Depot has got to be my favorite store to peruse.

Without looking, how do you think Home Depot’s stock has fared in this housing boom?

It may be surprising to many, but in the last 7 years, with home prices up nearly 150% and 3% home equity loans selling like hotcakes – Home Depot’s stock is unchanged over this period. Investors have fared much better owning shares of Lowe’s (up 400%). This example really highlights the wisdom of buying small growing companies over large stagnant ones.

Whitewashing Update - Et Tu BBC?

The BBC shuns the word "terrorist" to avoid "value judgements".

Isn't this what Karl Rove theorized?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Whitewashing Charlotte Fireworks

Any news junkie knows the regular gripes against Big Media. One such issue just won’t go away – that is the insistence of whitewashing terms. Journalists prefer militant, insurgent, and suicide bomber over “terrorist” and will seemingly go to any length to avoid the term.

Bill O’Reilly was recently complaining about the New York Times reference to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as a “Jordanian Fighter” instead of as a terrorist or serial killer. The Times responded that their audience is sophisticated and needn’t be reminded that al-Zarqawi is a terrorist on a constant basis. While that is partially true, in the larger context of Times news reporting it seems to many to be a whitewashing. Anyway, the Times is free to write whatever it wants and readers are free to read other papers. While it may be bad business to alienate potential readers with such trivialities – bad business decisions remain a protected right as well.

The brouhaha in Charlotte last week was over an “incident” at the 4th of July fireworks show.

Apparently 2,000 people rioted after the fireworks, but the Charlotte Observer was insistent that it was only a “melee”.

Charlotte leaders and police officials promise that next year's uptown fireworks
show will go on despite a melee involving 2,000 people after Monday's event.

The commotion led to one gunshot wound, 20 arrests and a police
crackdown that brought in more than 100 extra officers.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police estimated that crowds numbering 2,000 had started to grow unruly near Trade and Tryon streets after the fireworks show ended about 10:20 p.m. Monday. The masses swarmed up to Eighth Street and down to the transit center in the muggy heat.

Tensions escalated as people threw fireworks into the crowds, blocked traffic and refused to respond to police, said Capt. Tim Jayne. They pushed a Dumpster into the street, he said,
and intimidated people trying to leave parking garages. By 11:10 p.m. police mobilized extra units, sending an urgent call across police radios requesting all available officers to come uptown from across Mecklenburg County. Police activated a civil emergency unit of about 15 officers trained to control crowds. Animal control officers were recruited to guard Tryon Street amid dozens of police and sheriff deputies' cars lining the blocked roads.

Gunshots rang out, with one person shot in the hand. Sgt. Jim Hollingsworth said he saw
people throw lit firecrackers at police. Police called in vans to cart people away and made requests for plastic flex-cuffs to detain them. Police locked down streets block by block, pushing the crowds out of the center city.

It wasn't until a few minutes after 1 a.m. that Jayne started to send officers back to
their districts, but many remained on the streets directing traffic.

They said they had 15 officers working in uptown -- more than scheduled for a regular night -- plus another 39 working off-duty to provide security and guard street barricades at the SkyShow. They had to call in about 100 more to handle the disturbance, Adkins said.

Does this sound like a “melee”?

This is why these newspapers are total pieces of excrement. They are more concerned with how sensitively events are characterized than with what actually happens. My advice to everyone – stop reading newspapers…..your IQ will only go up.

Furthermore, stay away from "free" events. This stuff went on in Philadelphia when I lived there as well.

I figured while on the whitewashing topic I would throw a 9/11 pic up. When was the last time such an image was on network television? This stuff should be plastered everywhere, in my opinion.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Google Maps

I just downloaded a program called google earth. It lets you use satellite imagery to see any place on earth. You can then highlight points of interest, be they golf courses, malls, etc. Of course it is free. A decent broadband connection and relatively new computer is recommended. Sorry no Macs. Here is the link to the site. Below is a shot of Lower Manhattan. Note the WTC site at the top.

The site is more robust than this. It is streaming so you can zoom in and out and move in any direction. Also the resolution isn't done justice by this small screenshot. So much for privacy, but definitely download it.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Moron Roundup

Someone complained to me that the name of my blog, "Marginalizing Morons" was arrogant.

In the spirit of a previous blog, they should consider the ridiculous alternative, "Elevating Morons".

Here are the results of a recent Moron Roundup.

Teachers now avoid red ink because it is too stressful and demoralizes students. Purple is apparently much more sensitive.

Legislators don't want cops chasing criminals in California. The proposed law actually would make cops personally liable for anything that happens during a car chase. Look at this nugget from State Senator Sam Aanestad,

"Probably the worst way to catch someone is by chasing them."

Sarbanes-Oxley legislation is making companies go private and scaring away foreign companies from listing in the US.

Salton, maker of the George Foreman grill is on the verge of bankruptcy. This is truly amazing considering that they sold over 70 million grills. George has made around $150 million from it though. (also making the Moron list is anyone who claims that the grill is "easy to clean".)

Stephen King – at the University of Maine commencement, urged graduates, "give away a dime of every dollar you make," arguing, to applause, that "if everybody did it, maybe we could make Mr. Bush let go of the weapons he loves so well and give back some of the money that he spends on them to the farmers, the unwed mothers and the working poor.

Last I checked I give away 40% of everything I make via confiscatory taxes – it surely would be a different world if lowered to 10%.

The logical gaps between giving away money and “Mr. Bush’s weapons" are only outdone by the socialist talking points. Yeah, let’s be more like foundering Europe. What a shock, another rich celebrity and beneficiary of capitalism wants to uproot the system that made him.

Meet Coco Crisp[sic] of the Cleveland Indians. Yes, as in the cereal. Pretty much if your last name is Crisp, there are only two names your parents should avoid, “Burnt-to-a” and “Coco”.

The Chinese think they can bolster their stock market by limiting new issues. From

According to the WSJ, Chinese regulators are trying to support sagging share prices on the country's two domestic exchanges, by restricting access to them. The move risks marginalizing China's stock mkts even more, as a slew of Chinese co's head overseas to raise capital, say securities analysts. With the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index near 8-year lows, the China Securities Regulatory Commission has quietly imposed a fresh moratorium on new share issues that will likely last through Y05, say senior exchange officials. The move follows an earlier freeze on new share issues in the 2H Y04. The latest freeze coincides with a reform program begun in April to unload billions of dollars of existing but currently untradable state-held equity in the Chinese stock mkts. The worry is that the domestic mkts can't absorb so many shares; the two Chinese exchange officials say it is better first to fix the bigger problem of finding buyers for the state-owned stock, which has a total value of about $250 bln. These state shares, which aren't considered new issues, aren't covered by the moratorium."We have to let the current reform play out," says the Shanghai exchange official. "There's no timetable" for resuming new stock issues, he adds.

This economic illiteracy is redolent of the French limiting the work week to 35 hours. They thought that there was a finite amount of work and that by reducing the hours of “overworkers”, they would eliminate unemployment. Could they be any more bleepin' retarded?

Researchers have found that male circumcision reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 70%. Why does this make the Roundup? Because the world is spending billions of dollars to find an HIV vaccine whose targeted risk reduction level is only 30%. When are people going to realize that scientists are mostly a government subsidized welfare demographic?

Furthermore about male circumcision, when my son was born the doctor asked if we wanted the procedure. They gave us all sorts of pamphlets and information about circumcision. One such item said that many people opt for circumcision for "...religious, cultural, and social reasons." We requested the procedure and told the doctor that it was for "social" reasons, i.e. we didn't want our son excluded from the foreskin-free cliques at school.

Also, in a country where male prison inmates in California can get sex change operations and breast reduction surgery paid for by the state, circumcision for baby boys is not covered by major HMOs.

This great headline yesterday, "CBS to Join the Storytelling Business..." I guess after the Dan Rather fake documents fiasco, why not make it official.

Morgan Reynolds, a former economist for the Department of Labor, thinks that the government secretly imploded the World Trade Center on 9/11. Shouldn't he be institutionalized?

Steven Spielberg is lamenting the dearth of recent UFO sightings. Let's give him a break, he may just be totally immersed in his work.

And lastly this beauty from the global warming whackos:

Global warming looks set to be much worse than previously forecast, according to new research. Ironically, the crucial evidence is how little warming there has been so far.

When are these nutjobs going to realize that trying to study larger weather trends with less than a 50 year sample period is like trying to predict the winner of a baseball game from witnessing a single pitch?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Government Schools versus Home-Schooling

In the northeast, there is a plethora of private schools that I guess I assumed was the norm everywhere else. When I moved to Charlotte I realized that this is simply not the case. There is only one Catholic high school in the whole area and not much in the way of other private schools.

Charlotte has seen a huge increase in population over the last 10 years and the public education system has been unable to manage the growth. Overcrowding, discipline problems, and something ridiculous like 20% annual turnover of teachers. The Charlotte-Mecklenberg school system is basically a disaster and with the dearth of private schools, parents have turned to home-schooling en masse.

Home-schooling seemed non-existent up north, but that is due to better schools, more private schools, and a higher cost of living that almost mandates dual income households.

Here is an informative essay that addresses the history of public education, its shortcomings, and the home-schooling option.

The whole idea that government should educate children is a concept that I guess most people take for granted.