Friday, December 31, 2010
The mystery is why it's still such a mystery. About 85 percent of Americans had healthcare. Polls showed Americans were largely pleased with the status of that care. (snip) Democrats' top priority was healthcare when the nation's top priority was the economic crisis.
For the large majority of our history, public employee unions have been illegal. It is only since the 1960s and 1970s that they have been allowed. (snip) The United States has carried on a four-decade experiment in legalization, and the results are in: public employee unions are a cancer on our country.Hinderaker's conclusion is one with which COTTonLINE concurs:
Legalization of public employee unions has been a disaster. It is time to end the experiment and make them illegal once again, at both the federal and state levels. I expect that this will become one of the great political issues of the next decade.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
History shows that three variables are crucial in countering an insurgency: a real process of reconciliation, no safe havens for the enemy and a competent host government. None are present in Afghanistan.
Nothing much happened in 2010.
More snow means more of the planet covered in sheets of blinding white. More white means more sun heat reflected back into space. More reflected heat means more cold. More cold means more snow.
That's Gaia doing her magic. Is this how ice ages begin? Global cooling? Sounds reasonable to me, although I'm the first to admit climate isn't my field of science.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
As a result of geographic shifts in population uncovered by the 2010 Census, nine congressional seats will move to right-to-work states from forced unionization states. Some winners are Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and South Carolina, while losers include New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and New Jersey.
Growth tends to be stronger where taxes are lower. Seven of the nine states that do not levy an income tax grew faster than the national average. The other two, South Dakota and New Hampshire, had the fastest growth in their regions, the Midwest and New England. Altogether, 35 percent of the nation's total population growth occurred in these nine non-taxing states.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The king of Saudi Arabia has a more realistic understanding of the enormous dangers of an Iranian nuclear bomb than does the President of the United States.
One of the telling signs carried in a tea party demonstration said: "Spread my work ethic, not my wealth." It may be better to teach people how to fish, rather than giving them fish, but too many politicians give them fish, in order to get their votes.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Women are for children, boys are for pleasure.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
President Barack Obama's job approval rating has fallen again to 39%, equaling a low since he took office. Also, 63% of likely voters say Obama is a weak leader, compared to 19% who label him strong.Much of the slippage in Obama's approval rating from 42% on Dec. 1 was caused by a drop of nine percentage points among Democrats (82% to 73%). His approval also went down among independents, from 39% to 36%.
Monday, December 13, 2010
I see no particular evidence that schools or teachers are worse than they once were, or better for that matter. What has changed is that we are less comfortable with students dropping out of school as most once did.Never try and teach a pig to sing: it's a waste of time, and it annoys the pig.Robert A. Heinlein - Time Enough For Love
Sunday, December 12, 2010
The unemployment rate for people with a college degree or higher is 5 percent. If that were the rate for everyone, it’d be the 1990s again. But college graduates are only 30 percent of the country. For the rest of the population, the jobs picture is grimmer. For people without a high-school degree, the unemployment rate is more than 15 percent. If that were the rate for everyone, it’d be the 1930s again.Employment level isn't the only difference between the educated and the rest:
The highly educated (with a college diploma or higher) are less likely to divorce, less likely to have children out of wedlock, and less likely to commit adultery than the moderately educated (high-school degree or some college) and the least-educated (no high-school diploma).Therefore the children of the educated are more likely to succeed, etc. I recommend the entire article to you; much of it is based on research by Bradford Wilcox of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, which can be viewed here.
You can’t want peace more than the parties themselves, and that is exactly where America is today. The people running Israel and Palestine have other priorities. It is time we left them alone to pursue them — and to live with the consequences.The whole column is good. Basically Friedman says both parties have such difficulties with their internal politics that they cannot negotiate a two-state solution.
I have felt for a long time that the U.S. should stop trying to solve Middle East problems; yet every president gets drawn into the same mess. I never expected to hear anybody in our foreign policy establishment voice this opinion.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Let's look at the numbers. At present, Obama only approves of 26 percent of all Americans. That’s down from a high of 79 percent and that's across all demographics.There is lots more to enjoy, go read it and have a laugh.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
There is no substitute for vigorous private-sector job creation and investment, and that’s missing in Japan. This is a lesson we should heed.Amen, brother.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Government benefits, once conferred, cannot be revoked. People expect them and consider them property rights. Just as government cannot randomly confiscate property, it cannot withdraw benefits without violating a moral code. The old-fashioned idea that government policies should serve the "national interest" has given way to inertia and squatters' rights.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Here's a solution to all the controversy over full-body scanners at the airports:
All we need to do is develop a booth you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have hidden on or in your body. The explosion will be contained within the sealed booth.
This would be a win-win for everyone. There would be none of this crap about racial profiling and the device would eliminate long and expensive trials.
This is so simple it's brilliant. I can see it now: you're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system, "Attention, standby passengers! We now have a seat available on flight number...."
Saturday, December 4, 2010
COTTonLINE doesn't often agree with editorial positions of The Washington Post, in this case we do. It is the occasional column like this that makes WaPo the nations's "newspaper of record" where The New York Times was once that paper.
Friday, December 3, 2010
I’ve been reading a book lent to me by my brother-in-law chronicling the career of a self-described “economic hit man.” John Perkins’ biography is Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, published in 2004 by Berrett-Koehler,
Perkins tells a good story, the story of an idealistic kid who, through almost no fault of his own, got a good education and went off to spend 3 years in
Sadly for him, they didn’t want his reports to reflect the poverty and misery he found in a series of third world countries. They wanted optimistic reports which would justify big loans to pay for big projects from which their engineering firms would make big bucks. No kidding, they really wanted to make money.
In country after country these big projects enriched the few wealthy families who typically run the economy and government of a third world country. In country after country the poor didn’t benefit while their countries became enmeshed in the global economy, forced to do the bidding of the first world countries since they couldn’t pay back their loans.
Perkins blames all this on some sinister plot to form a de facto global empire of de jure independent nations, without the empire ever being out in the open. He never thinks to blame the economic structure of third world countries, which so often defeats development projects by siphoning off their earnings into the Swiss bank accounts of the few local ricos while the many pobres continue to suffer.
For example, the vice president of
This book is a classical example of a square peg whining about being in a round hole, about being the wrong person in a job. Perkins would have been happy working for some NGO like CARE, the Red Cross or Save the Children. Instead he ended up working for people who wanted to make and keep money, not those who merely beg for donated money and disburse it.
I think Perkins somehow believed that development projects could be focused on the poor, the descamisados. The world doesn’t work that way. If you build a road network for a developing country, it is logical that only those who can afford at least a motorbike will be able to use it. If you build an electric power grid and generators to power it, people too poor to afford a toaster won't find it useful.
Somewhere in the book Perkins makes fun of offering a dollar a day job to someone who has none. Relate that to what is happening in China, the beginnings of labor unrest as cheap labor starts to organize. Perkins has it wrong, but it makes a good story nevertheless.
Dateline: Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Yesterday was Puerto Rico, today is Dutch Saint Maarten, called by the French who own the remainder,
It is amazing how built-up this island is, there is a house just about everywhere you could easily build one without extensive engineering work. It is mountainous and green, albeit less green than formerly according to our guide who says they now get maybe 45 inches of rain per year whereas they once got twice that. As is true on several of these islands, desalination is the major source of fresh water.
The French side tries to be tres European: 220 volt electricity, European auto tags, use the Euro currency, etc. On the other hand, Dutch St. Maarten has
I was amazed that there is a entire cluster of vacation islands here, including British Anguilla, St. Barts, French/Dutch St. Maarten, etc., all within view of each other. One would not need to be much of a small boat navigator to get from one to another, island-hopping on what amounts to VFR.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Dateline: Caribbean South of
Did you ever notice how all malls in
I suppose you might see regionality in certain merchandise if you were a detailed shopper (I’m not). Heavy-duty parkas are sold where there’s lots of snow and cold, I guess. Swim suits sold in
The little item we were looking for we finally found in the crafts section at Wal-Mart, which by design looks like Wal-Marts everywhere. Oh well, all of this reflective of a lessening of regional differences across the
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I think the president faces a challenge where he’s most inspirational when it’s about him, but not when it’s about you. And that I think is his fundamental challenge.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The gender gap shrinks to between 8% and 0% when the study incorporates measures such as work experience, career breaks and part-time work.
The most important source of the gender wage gap is that women assume greater responsibility for child-rearing than men.
Women often seek flexible work schedules, less stressful work environments, and other conditions compatible with meeting the demands of family responsibilities. Those come at a price—namely, lower wages.In addition to child-rearing, I'd guess women take more responsibility for the care of elderly relatives, too. And for all of these reasons a number of women are less available for business travel, often a job requirement.
The foreign policy of the European Union, and that of most of its constituent states, amounts to a kind of diplomatic air guitar: furious motion, considerable imagination, but neither sound nor effect. When a European leader issues a stern demarche toward, say, Burma or Russia, nobody notices. And nobody cares.