• B Work, If It Were A High School Assignment

    Posted on by JM

    The latest Government absurdity is the proposal of the “Food Desert” which is supposed to be a map of areas where a significant percentage of low income people live more than 1 mile away from a grocery store.  It has a very nice maps interface that you can move around, and I guess we are all supposed to be shocked!!! at how many of these deserts exist and how hard it is for the poor to obtain groceries in a country as “rich” as the US.

    The problem comes when you start breaking down many of these areas to find that there are Walmarts, Sam’s Clubs, International food markets, and small business grocers inside these so called deserts.  At first glance I thought that the USDA just called up the big supermarket chains, but the exclusion of Walmart has me thinking they just called up the teamster and SEIU and asked for a list of approved supermarkets.

    The other issue to note is that many areas covered are not just “Food Deserts” but residential population deserts as well.  For example, universities, cemeteries, forest preserves, and portions of airports in and around urban areas end up being labeled “Food Deserts”.  From this we can surmise one of three things:

    1. Nobody competent looked over the finished product before it went to print
    2. Somebody competent did see it, but due to managerial incompetence there wasn’t enough money to make a more precise product, or
    3. The government is willfully engaging in a propaganda campaign, and doesn’t care about the defects even if it may know about them.

    In these situations its almost hard to pick out which of the three options is the worst as it relates to the American people.  One, is scary because it implies the government isn’t capable of producing beyond a high school level in critical thinking.  Two, is troubling because no doubt the budget on this thing was enormous to begin with and it just impresses upon you how little we taxpayers actually get for our money.  Three, is flat out evil, but you can fight evil.



  • Of Course They Do

    Posted on by JM

    The GOP has found, shockingly, collusion between DNC PAC’s and candidate campaigns, which is against FEC rules.  No doubt the GOP itself plays fast and loose with these rules as well, but the problem with much of the FEC rules that they are completely unworkable due to being practically unenforceable.

    There are literally billions of instances of speech generated in each election cycle, and to properly analyze all of them would require tens of millions of man hours.  Even assuming a high level of competency the result is a lot of selective enforcement and fundamentally unjust system.

    The rubric for an effective set of regulations must start with ease of enforcement.  In this sense limiting dollar contributions is easy to do, particularly in the day and age of computers, which is probably why it is done.   I do not advocate such rules, because it is naïve to think money won’t find its way into politics.  There is just too much power at stake, and by impeding the easy channels all you are doing is shifting the flow of money into harder to track places.  Either dramatically curtail the power of government (heh) to slow the flow of money or make it really easy for money to move in transparent channels.

    Unlimited contributions to candidates or parties with full transparency of all amounts given, is an easy to execute and enforce.  The fear that a candidate will be “bought” by a rich person is overblown.  First, very few politicians will want to appear bought.  It isn’t good for getting votes.  Second, they are being bought now anyway, you just don’t see it. Nancy Pelosi’s husband got a sweetheart deal in the VISA stock offering, and a Ukrainian energy company appointed Hunter Biden to its board of directors.  If they aren’t bribing you through your family, they are giving you sweetheart consulting gigs when your term of service ends (see Newt Gingrich).

    The other change I would propose is that any group speaking about a candidate or political party or directs you to a website that mentions candidates/political parties must disclose a list of all its donors as well.  This is easier to police than the current IRS mess over whether political groups are engaged in politics or idea promotion.

    Will there still be coordination? Between issue advocacy groups and political campaigns? No doubt, but that goes on now, and it doesn’t matter how many rules you pass, unless you send the NSA to spy on all e-mails associated with everybody in politics (a solution that is sadly starting to look better every day) there will always be ways to skirt the rules.  So why not just make it really easy to follow them?



  • Is there any reason?

    How come the only thing the government seems capable of doing with any competence is spying on and tracking ordinary citizens with nothing to hide?  Terror plots are foiled by incompetence by the terrorist rather than the deftness of the security.  The government is at a loss to find the illegal aliens that are violating our laws, and that is to say nothing of how resilient the “resistance” is to the war on drugs.

    When they block FOIA for “national security” it is almost certainly to avoid showing how utterly incompetent they are at finding people that spend more than 5 minutes trying not to be found.  Google probably has a better idea where the illegal aliens, drug mules, street dealers, etc are than the government.  But why should ordinary citizens suffer when the government has no particular interest in serving anymore?

    Just as a matter of protection we should have open access to everything it does.  However, they are using methodologies strait out of the 1800s.  In this day and age it is absolutely asinine to have FOIA the way it is.  By default every e-mail, document, memo, doodle on a napkin made by a government employee should be dumped into a searchable database within 6 months.  If something truly is a matter of national security the government could impanel a jury of ordinary citizens to review the material and authorize that it be kept secret for a period of 5 years, which the government would then have the option of renewing every 5 years to a maximum of 20 with a different jury.

     



  • Beauty Standards, Now versus Then

    Somebody got it in their head that going back through famous paintings out of the 1400’s and altering them to meet today’s beauty standards would be a good idea.  This has naturally lead to comments along the lines of “ these nudes wouldn’t be considered paintable by today’s standards. And that today’s standards are stupid.”  To which I respond to the first with a resounding no doubt, and to the second with a “you must be trying to bed a feminist”.

    Putting aside the modern conveniences of cosmetics, including surgery, and the technical such as Photoshop, today’s women simply outclass those from 500-600 years ago.  That is just the nature of the modern world.  Things like better nutrition, less disfigurement due to disease, and less exposure to the elements play a huge part on improving beauty of today’s women.  Times were rough back then and 90% of the women out there were engaged in manual labor from sun up to sun down.  Outside the wealthy merchant class or the nobility the toll on the body began at 7 or 8 not the late teens.  In fact most women were pregnant by the mid-teens back then leaving a very short window in which everything was tight, so to speak.  No doubt the reason for many of the relatively slender nudes save for the post-pregnancy pouch was because many of them were in fact post pregnancy.  With a mean first child age of 28+ in Western Europe the window of opportunity also increases.

    The second reason why today’s subjects of beauty outclass those of the past in terms of looks is just math.  There are 10 times as many Europeans walking around the continent today than when those painters were painting.  Moreover, communication has moved past the horse and sailboat stage.  So if you are looking for the top 1% in beauty instead of 400,000 women there are no 4 million, and they are easier to find.



  • Class Distinction

    Middle class is an outdated term and is used to encompass pretty much everybody that gets 90%+ of their income from their job. In practice however, the societal breakdown looks something like:

    0-5% – mentally incapable of functioning.

    5-20% -the poor. A high degree of lazy coupled with lower levels of intelligence, those suffering black swan events

    20-40% – the working class. Those just starting out, debt slaves, or lower levels of intelligence coupled with a decent work ethic

    40-85% – the middle class.  Slow wealth accumulation that takes a lifetime, modest luxury.

    85-98% – the affluent.  Substantial luxury, capable of wealth creation

    98-99.9% – the rich.  Allows for constant luxury or exceptionally fast wealth creation, typically this group generates substantial unearned income.

    0.1% – the owners.

    This is in stark contrast to what politicians mean when they say the following terms.

    Poor – the bottom 20% if you are the GOP, anybody in the bottom 40% without a job if Dem.

    Working class – 20-40% GOP, democrat anybody in the bottom 40% with a job

    Middle class – 40-97% if you are GOP, 20-80% if you are a democrat

    Rich – top 2% GOP, top 20% democrat

    Keep these distinctions in mind when you hear somebody propose legislation.



  • Beauty Standards

    This morphing video is fascinating in the amount of work that could be done to transform a female of 4-5 into 7-8 and then using Photoshop to push her all the way up to 10 on the beauty scale.  I take issue with the caption however.

    It is not our standards of beauty that are ridiculous.  Difficulty and rarity are not metrics by which one should judge ridiculousness.  Take quarterbacking in the NFL for example.  Our standards for the perfect quarterback are made no more ridiculous by the fact that there aren’t any perfect quarterbacks.  In fact, there are only a handful of elite quarterbacks in any generation that come even close.  The difference however is that one cannot fake elite quarterback play the way one can fake high quality beauty.  And that is where I feel this video is incredibly important for women and that the caption could be fixed by adding the word “obtainable”.

    “See Why We Have An Absolutely Ridiculous Standard Of Obtainable Beauty In Just 37 Seconds”

    As is clearly demonstrated in this video, most the ads you see in magazines have a team of professionals working to make the model look as best as possible, and then Photoshop is used to take it the rest of the way.  This is of course by design because if one believed that being a 9 or 10 were impossible; one would be less inclined to try, and its the trying that is a 100+ billion dollar a year industry.



  • Can’t they find a better victim?

    Contrary to its author’s belief, this is an example of why Obamacare shouldn’t exist.  This isn’t a guy who did everything right, he is a guy that willfully made bad choices.  And not only does Mr. Kristof feel that this man deserves to be spared the consequences of his actions, he feels that it is our obligation to pay for it.  There is a flip side to Kristof stance that is necessary in order to preserve the fundamental fairness he so desperately desires.  If society has a duty to cover your hardship, then you have a duty to minimize your hardship.  But it is patently obvious from the article that this did not happen.

    First, Mr. Streeter isn’t somebody who is poor and on Medicaid.  He is an able bodied adult who could afford some level of coverage, he just chose not to.  His excuse was that as a lifelong smoker he couldn’t afford the smokers premium.  But that was 2008.  He had 4+ years to quit smoking and get the normal premium.  Not only that, Mr. Streeter didn’t even bother to put in a vault the money he saved not buying normal premiums.

    We aren’t talking chump change here.  The premium on a healthy adult male in his 40’s runs ~$200 a month.  That means he should come into 2013 with over $10,000 saved up.   Is that going to cover his cancer? Not likely, but it does mean he goes sees the doctor when he starts to feel the symptoms and gets the colonoscopy in time to do something about it.  At which point he can think about his options such as debt financing, raiding retirement funds, falling off on to public aid, charity from friends, family, and church, etc.

    It is important to note that there is a truly horrible tragedy going on in this story.  Mr. Streeter is a lifelong smoker, which means he has been smoking since the mid 80’s.  In the late 90’s the states entered into a master settlement with the tobacco companies that paid the states hundreds of billions, but also barred private action.  As such the states should be on the hook for the smoker premium for everybody that was smoking prior to the late 90’s but they spent that money on other vote buying schemes, and avoiding tough decisions about governance.  In a further kick in the nuts to the smoking community they upped the taxes on tobacco justifying it primary as a means to pay for the state’s additional healthcare costs, but that also is a big fat lie.  So the money that was supposed to take care of this guy was collected by our beloved governments not once but twice, they just spent it on their favored constituents of which he isn’t.  That sounds suspiciously like what is going on in Obamacare, but this time it will be different…



  • Oddities of the French Law

    Posted on by JM

    This is an old article, but I think it is worth exploring.  The short of it is, that a judge ruled that a man was supposed to have sex with his wife more than he did over the course of their 21-year marriage and ordered him to pay ~$12,000 in compensation for the diminished amount of sex the wife received.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne … f-sex.html

    While this is french nonsense. The lawyer in me has a few follow up questions. No doubt these will be expanded on in years to come…

    1) How does this square with the rape laws? Presumably the man had all the consenual sex with his wife that they could mutually agree upon. Any more than that would constitute rape. Thus isn’t the woman being rewarded because she refrained from raping her husband? and the husband being fined for not raping his wife?

    2) In light of the potential for increasing incidents of rape, was the reward sufficiently discounted by times where he was in the mood and she wasn’t?

    3) Is there an absolute number, such that a man could preform his acts in a single year and never have to provide sex again? If there is a min. annual amount is there a carry over from prior periods? or is it a trailing average? Is the relative attractiveness of the the participants a factor in how much sex is required? What about age? relative opportunity?

    4) Is quanity the only benchmark or is quality a factor? Can the man for instance be a passive participant just allowing woman on top to meet his “burden of sex” or must he also provide some degree of thrusting and or caressing? Is it a requirement that she achieve orgasim? Is penetration required or are oral/manual stimulation acceptable?

    5) If penetration is required how does that square against the mans rights to not concieve a child using the only form of birth control that is 100% effective? Is he allowed to disengage if he even feels like he is getting close? Would the enhanced frustration of the wife felt in such an abrupt stop aggravate the quality issue?

    6) Given that a man has a right to conception which he is apparently forfeiting with marriage under these rules, does he in exchange gain reproductive rights in his wife?



  • Pandering Reps or Just Insane

    Posted on by JM

    My Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill) gave a speech not long ago at some woman power fundraiser.  The quote of ire being:

    Today I am asserting that humanity is at a crossroads on this small planet and that our survival as a species is dependent on women taking charge, taking the world in our own hands. I really do believe that we are at a tipping point from which there could be no turning back — a turning point that the traditional male hierarchy of the world ignores at their own peril. A peril that puts us all in the unacceptable danger — actually of extinction, so let us begin the era of the woman.

    For starters, I don’t exactly get the idea that she has listened to my interests and attempted to weigh them against the interests of the rest of the people she represents.

    Second, it appears to me, that if one were genuinely worried about extinction the first step would be to stop aborting our young.  This would be followed closely by stop encouraging women to delay marriage and conception thereby reducing their fertility window.  These aren’t the steps that Ms. Schakowsky has in mind however.

    Third, if feminism really is supposed to mean equality for all, how is the upcoming age supposed to be the era of woman?  Shouldn’t it be the era of equality?  The obvious answer is that feminism doesn’t actually mean equality for all.  That has been true for some while which is why younger women are abandoning the term.  The truth is that modern feminism is about letting women do whatever they want and then not judging them on their actions or the consequences that stem from those actions.  If anything is going to lead to extinction that seems to be it.  So Ms. Schakowskey is right in a sense.  The male hierarchy, in whatever form it actually exists, has been ignoring the problem.

    Lastly, she picked a really good week to say something insane.  On that note is anybody watching the alphabet soup or congress to make sure they aren’t also doing something insane?



  • On the Housework Thing

    Posted on by JM

    Just as an experiment write down all the chores you think are house work

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    Does your list include any of the following:

    • Anything that requires a screwdriver, hammer, putty knife, ladder, saw or power tool
    • Anything that requires a person to lift something heavier than 20 pounds
    • Anything involving being outside (such as mowing grass, raking, or shoveling snow)
    • Anything involving numbers (financial planning, taxes, bookkeeping)

     

    Now answer this, is the division of labor in your household still skewed as badly as you think?