Saturday, December 3, 2016

Cab Thoughts 12/3/16

Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field.--Dwight Eisenhower

My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us.--Kenneth Minogue

Administrative costs are variable and damaging to projects. It is said that 27% to 30% of health care costs are administrative. According to Lott, private charities ensure that 80 to 90 percent of donations go to those in need, while only 20 percent of government welfare spending actually reaches the intended recipients.  20%! Likewise, non-teacher costs make up over 40 percent of the budgets in public schools compared to less than 20 percent in private ones.  Overall, the per pupil costs of public schooling are about twice as much as for private schools despite the fact that children typically learn much faster in private institutions.  These statistics indicate that private charities and schools can provide better service than public ones if they receive just half the funding.

According to the DOJ, a black police officer is 3.3X more likely to fire his gun in the line of duty than a white policeman. Over 300% more.

The JonBenet Ramsey TV show showed some worrisome things. First, the law officers are an incompetent bunch. Justice seems to be stumbled over, like a clue. This--and the O.J. crime--is far more damning to law enforcement that a street shooting. But another element is very bothersome: The police did not bring charges--and Grand Jury decisions are illegal to make public. So what right does the entertainment industry have to investigate and come to conclusions that wreck this Burke Ramsey's life as certainly as Tina Fey did Palin's?  Entertainment is a diversion, not a Synod. I saw Trudeau on TV today (who wrote "Doonesbury") talking about Trump and he takes himself very seriously. These entertainers need to understand the limits of celebrity.

As specialization increases, individuals are, by definition, less self-sufficient. Ergo, co-operation and trade become essentials to human life.

Who is...Tahar Djaout?

From an interview with a woman who has a son with a learning disability: "McDonald's saved him." Why? Oh, they're unbelievable, she said. They are very used to dealing with people like my son. They have all kinds of systems for helping people who lack good work habits become productive. For instance, they start calling you hours before your morning shift to ensure that you are awake and getting ready for work. My son really needed that, she said. In McDonalds he learned that work guidelines have a purpose and he acquired confidence. He is no longer passive now. He has a much better job, a fiancée, and a future. (I can't remember where this article was.)

The number of women in the labor force rose from 14.5 million in 1941 to a peak of 19.4 million in 1944, declining to 16.9 million in 1947. In other words, of the 4.9 million women who entered the labor force between 1941 and 1944, 2.4 million stayed in the labor force.

A 2012 Wenzel Strategies poll found that 58 percent of Muslim Americans believe criticism of Muhammad should not be protected under the First Amendment. Religious freedom in America prohibits restrictions of religious practice but it will get dicey if there is a conflict with other freedoms. Opponents to abortion would be happy simply to opt out but there is no opting out of speech.

Golden oldie:

Snowden: General Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before Congress and said: “The vast majority of the documents that Mr. Snowden exfiltrated from our highest levels of security, the vast majority had nothing  to do with exposing government oversight of domestic activities. The vast majority of those were related to our military capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques, and procedures.” Specific counterterrorism operations and drug-interdiction efforts have  been shut down because of Snowden’s leak. High-level officials, including former CIA deputy director Michael Morell, have stated that, post-Snowden, Islamic State and al-Qaeda terrorists have modified the way they communicate. British intelligence has reported  that, in the wake of the leaks, terrorists have ramped up their use of sophisticated encryption technologies. Even criminal gangs have changed their methods, making it harder for intelligence agencies to interfere in activities such as human trafficking.
Not  to worry. Oliver Stone is on the case.

The U.S. Census has a segment on poverty showing, every year, that it tends to be a temporary state. A quote from it: "The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) provides monthly data about labor force participation and income sources  and amounts. The data yield insights into the dynamic nature of these experiences and the economic mobility of U.S. residents. For example, the data demonstrate that using a longer time frame to measure poverty (e.g., 4 years) yields, on average, a lower poverty  rate than the annual measures presented in this report, while using a shorter time frame (e.g., 2 months) yields higher poverty rates." And "During the 4-year period from 2009 to 2012, 34.5 percent of the population had at least one spell of poverty lasting  2 or more months." And "Chronic poverty over the 4-year period from 2009 to 2012 was relatively uncommon, with 2.7 percent of the population living in poverty all 48 months." That does not fit the self-serving political narrative.

Vatican City is the world's smallest country. Since its incorporation, it has never had a birth.

In 1921 the first branch of the now worldwide writers' organization, PEN, was founded in England by Mrs. C. A. Dawson Scott. Its first president was John Galsworthy. The acronym derives from Poets and playwrights/Editors/Novelists, but today the organization includes critics, translators, journalists, etc..
PEN is especially active in supporting writers who are politically oppressed, and for promoting freedom of expression. Their web site features the 4-line poem by assassinated Algerian writer Tahar Djaout that has rallied and inspired many:
    Silence is death.
    If you are silent you are dead,
    And if you speak you are dead,
    So speak and die.

Generally, the sweeter the wine and the higher the alcohol content, the longer it will last. Most dry wines are good for about 3-4 days. Sweet wines, however, can last 2-3 weeks. A port-style wine, which is higher in alcohol content, can taste great even months after it has been opened.

Post-truth: adj: relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotions and personal belief. It was recently named by Oxford Dictionaries as its word of the year. The use of the term increased 2,000% in 2016.

Tobacco has killed 50 million people in the last decade. If trends continue, a billion people will die from tobacco use and exposure this century, which equates to one person every six seconds. I wonder if anyone could sue the Indian Nation casinos  for reparations.

“Master” and “associate master” are titles for professors who reside at one of Yale’s colleges and are responsible for its academic and social life. The title has since been changed to “head of college” in the wake of last year’s protests, as  many students thought the term was racist.
It was Pope Pius XII that heralded the “Big Bang Theory”, a theory developed by Georges Lemaître, as “scientific validation for Catholicism.”

Monday Night Football ratings are down a whopping 19% this year, according to Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch.

People who talk about tax evasion as if there were something wrong with it are hilarious. No one talks about, say, Walmart evasion as if there were something wrong with it. They sensibly suppose that people who don’t want what Walmart offers for sale don’t hand over their money to Walmart. Why not assume equally sensibly that people who don’t want what the government offers don’t hand over their money to it?...government is a band of violent criminals extorting money from people and doing a great deal of evil with the proceeds. Of course perfectly decent people will evade handing over their money to such disreputable and often evil individuals. It is scarcely a bad thing to keep one’s money out of such malevolent hands.--Higgs

AAAAAAAnnnnnnddddddd.....a graph:

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