Sunday, March 30, 2014

How iPads and smartphones are killing jobs

A testing ground for this is the debate over whether to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10, as President Obama and many Democrats would like. Historically, raising the minimum wage has usually had no meaningful impact on hiring, regardless of what partisan advocates may claim. But this time may, uh, be different. Up till now, automation has mostly been used to streamline industrial assembly lines and other complex systems. Now, technology has gotten so cheap that a few iPads outfitted with ordering and purchasing software may be cheaper than a staff of retail clerks earning minimum wage. If the pay threshold were to rise to $10.10, it could boost overall costs at some employers by nearly 10%, according to BlackRock analysis. That may be enough to persuade a whole range of companies to replace workers with gizmos wherever possible.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Screw you, Mickey Kaus!

That’s not insurance! It’s a huge transfer of wealth from people who work for a living to those who don’t, accomplished by forcing the workers to buy insurance that’s not insurance. Obamacare has made actual health insurance “illegal.”

It’s not “insurance” when what I want to insure against isn’t covered, but paying for other people’s health care needs — defined broadly — is mandatory.

It’s as if you wanted to buy a car, so you paid for a Toyota — but then all you got was a 10-speed bike, with the rest of your purchase price going to buy cars, bikes and helmets for other people.

Or, more precisely, it would be like having the option of car insurance that covers either collisions or liability, but not both. Your car insurance premium would be gargantuan, because most of it would go to buy insurance, gas and air fresheners for other people in the plan.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fwd: Data Changes

There is a pattern here. Changes in data collection seem to have a predictable result: Inflation and unemployment rates become lower. Economic growth becomes greater. The IRS focuses on government skeptics. The Affordable Care Act is not in trouble. Illegal immigration is not such a problem.


If the people increasingly believe that bureaucrats try to alter realty to reflect preconceived ideologies or the goals of the particular regime in power, then America as we know it is finished’


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Gun Myths

Full-auto is only really used for suppression, that is, to make the bad guys duck their heads and hunker down while your people maneuver into position. In fact, virtually all bullets are used for this. For each insurgent killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 250,000 shots are fired that hit absolutely nothing. About three tons of ammunition for every one dude killed. Picture Arnold lugging that

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fwd: Senate aids took classified documents

‘Congressional aides involved in preparing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s unreleased study of the CIA’s secret interrogation and detention program walked out of one of the spy agency’s top-secret facility with classified documents that the CIA contended they weren’t authorized to have, McClatchy has learned.


After the CIA confronted the panel in January about the removal of the material last fall, panel staff concluded that the agency had monitored computers they’d been given to use in a high-security CIA research room in Northern Virginia, a McClatchy investigation found.


It remained unclear Wednesday if the monitoring, the unauthorized removal of classified material or another matter were the subject of a recent CIA request to the Justice Department for an investigation into alleged malfeasance in connection with the committee’s top-secret study.’



‘The vote is being billed as a chance for the Ukrainian territory’s peoples to decide fairly and freely their future, but it emerged on Tuesday that there is no room on the ballot paper for voting “Nyet” to control by Russia.


The ballot paper for the contest, which was published by parliament, disclosed that Crimean voters will be given two options: either immediate “reunification” with Russia, or adopting the “1992 constitution” — which gives parliament the power to vote to join Russia.


The status quo, whereby Crimea has autonomy within Ukraine, does not appear on the ballot paper. In practise, experts said that this amounted to giving voters the choice between joining Russia immediately or joining Russia after a short delay.


“Those citizens who were content with Crimea remaining part of Ukraine on the same basis as it has been for the last 20 years do not have a voice in this referendum. There is no third option available,” said Keir Giles, an associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia programme at Chatham House.

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The referendum has been called at only 10 days’ notice. Rallies in favour of staying in Ukraine have been attacked by pro-Russian mobs. International observers have been excluded from monitoring the contest, with some having live rounds fired over their heads at Crimea’s new border with Ukraine.’


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fwd: Ukraine

‘In Putin’s world, all demonstrators in Moscow streets are paid agents of Hillary Clinton, and now John Kerry, a student deserves two and a half years in jail for injuring a heavily-armored riot policeman with a lemon,  the tiny Georgian army attacked Russian forces without prvocation as rabid Georgians killed and maimed the embattled citizens of Abkhazia, the Maidan demonstrators are Nazis and skinheads who burn innocent bystanders alive, Yanukovich’s Berkut riot police bravely held their ground as anti-Semitic snipers dropped them one by one, Yanukovich is the legitimate president although Ukraine has no president,  the new Crimean governor (who last commanded a whopping 4% of the vote) has the unanimous support of the people, desperate Russian-speaking Ukrainians turned to Russia for humanitarian support, and the Russian uniforms worn by Crimean “local self defense forces” were purchased in second-hand stores.


Chancellor Merkel should not be surprised by Putin’s lack of touch with reality, or that he is living “in another world.” After all, she grew up behind a wall, erected by Putin’s KGB heroes for the express purpose of keeping out “enemy provocateurs,” not to keep the people from fleeing. The likes of John Kerry and Barack Obama, however, face Putin’s KGB alternative universe for the first time. Let’s hope they come to understand Putin’s uncivilized provokatsia,  desinformatisia, maskirovka, and the tried-and-true “big lie” as quickly as possible.


Know thy enemy. If he is in the gutter, you’ll need to get your hands dirty.’