Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: February 5, 2010

Senate Diversity Police Need To Question Democrats

This is one of the more irrirtating manifestations of the faux drive for “diversity”.  See if you can pick up on it:

That historically all-white club known as the U.S. Senate is likely to lose what little diversity it has after November’s elections.

Two white men will be competing for President Barack Obama’s former seat in Illinois, now held by Roland Burris, the chamber’s lone African-American. Appointed by the scandal-tainted former governor, Burris won’t be seeking a full term.

In contests in Florida, Texas and North Carolina, black candidates face daunting challenges to joining the august body, from difficulty raising cash to lack of name recognition to formidable rivals.

Got it?  Yeah, no mention of other “minorities”.  Apparently “diversity” is now only measured by the inclusion of only one race.  In fact, despite the assertion in the article, the Senate is not – let me repeat that – not an “all-white club”.

While 94 members are white, 2 are Asian and 3 are Hispanic and 1 is black.  17 are women.

To make the point that it’s really not diversity that this is about, the article notes:

Blacks comprise 12.2 percent of the nation’s population, but you wouldn’t know it in the 100-member Senate. Come next year, the total number could add up to zero.

“It certainly is not a desirable state of affairs,” said David Bositis, a senior political analyst with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Bositis noted that blacks don’t make up the majority population in any state and in states where there are large numbers of blacks, as in the South, there are racial divisions that make getting elected difficult.

Apparently democracy and the will of the people are wonderful things unless they don’t yield the results the diversity police think they should.  Then it is “not a desirable state of affairs”.

Let’s try this – how many black candidates are the Democrats, the party that positions itself as the party of African Americans, running for the Senate in predominantly blue states?  Why is it that the Democratic party has a white guy running for Barack Obama’s seat?  Whose fault is that?  Why don’t the Democrats have an African American available to contest that and other Senate seats in opposition to Republicans if this is such a undesirable state of affairs?

The implicit assumption made by Bostis is “racial divisons” in the South are the reason a fairly large black population can’t elect a black Senator.  It couldn’t at all be the fact that they’re all deep red states, could it?  And if we grant him his assumption that the problem in the South is racism, then one assumes that such a problem wouldn’t exist in the North in deep blue states, correct (otherwise why try to make such an implication)?  So where are the black Senators then – from Michigan, for instance?  Why don’t Washington or Oregon have black Senators?  New York?  Massachusetts? Afterall, what’s being implied is that race isn’t really an issue elsewhere for blacks – only in the South.  Never mind the fact that the deep red South would be unlikely to elect a Democrat to begin whether he or she be white or black. 

Anyway, this one just struck me wrong.  This is a nonsense story spun as something significant.  If the diversity police  want to point fingers, Mr. Bostis, et al should be asking the Democrats why members of a constituency they claim is theirs aren’t being put forward as candidates for the “historically all-white club”  in deeply blue states where, one assumes, they’d have a great chance as the party’s primary choice.

~McQ

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Jobs, Unemployment And “A Deficit Of Trust”

Yesterday we were told the nation’s employers “unexpectedly” shed more jobs last month than forecast.  Today we’re told that despite that, the unemployment rate “surprisingly” decreased to 9.7%.

Unsurprisingly I don’t believe a word of it.  Call me a cynic, call me a skeptic, but I just don’t believe much of anything coming out of the government these days (I know, let’s call it a “deficit of trust”).  Don’t forget that 9.7% number comes on the heels of a report saying the government forgot to count over 800,000 lost jobs last year.

When the government releases Friday’s unemployment report, nearly a million jobs could be erased. The change won’t show up in the monthly report. Rather, the expected job will show up in the government’s revised job losses from April 2008 to March 2009, showing the labor market was in much worse shape than we knew at the time.

So here we are, rampant and exceedingly high unemployment, no relief in sight and the unicorns and rainbows crowd are spinning the numbers and telling us all is well and getting better.

Well, economic well-being, like is said of politics, is all local.  And for the most part, the locals aren’t buying the spin.  Here’s the brutal truth:

An unemployment rate that’s projected to average 10 percent this year will likely weigh on consumer spending, preventing the biggest part of the economy from accelerating. Without additional gains in sales, companies will be forced to keep cutting costs, limiting staff in order to boost profits.

“Businesses are simply postponing their hiring for as long as possible,” Richard DeKaser, chief economist at Woodley Park Research in Washington, said before the report. “The willingness to hire is not there.”

Fewer customers, less spending. Less spending, less of a need to make things.  Less demand for products means less demand for more employees.

Key line: “Without additional gains in sales, companies will be forced to keep cutting costs, limiting staff in order to boost profits.”

And that’s precisely what they’re doing.  The Labor Department reports:

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 6.2 percent annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This gain in productivity reflects increases of 7.2 percent in output and 1.0 percent in hours worked. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) This was the first quarterly increase in hours worked since the second quarter of 2007 (0.9 percent). Productivity increased 5.1 percent over the last four quarters –more than during any similar period since output per hour rose 6.1 percent from the first quarter of 2001 to the first quarter of 2002.

Even the Riddler could puzzle this one out.  Worker productivity has increased 5.1% over the last four quarters.  But unemployment has continued to grow.  What does that mean?  Well it means companies and businesses have found a way to increase production with fewer employees.  And that, as the key line above suggests, boosts profits.

Now that productivity increase can come in many ways.  Simply distributing the same (or even increased) work load to fewer employees.  That’s happening all over the place now.  Then, in certain industries,  automation replaces employees (it doesn’t require health insurance, vacation days, a 401k and isn’t represented by a union).  And in some places it’s a combination of both plus modified business models. 

The bottom line is there’s not likely to be that much hiring if and when the economy actually turns around unless a huge increase in demand is realized.   And even then, employers are likely to try to hold out as long as possible, given their productivity gains, until those productivity gains are neutralized.  I’m sure there’s a tremendous gap between now and that point.  Then add in the market instability brought on by pending legislation like health care reform and cap-and-trade, and you can see high unemployment in the future for quite some time.

But the unicorn and rainbow crowd are going to tell you everything, relatively speaking, is getting better.  The fact that your relatives are all unemployed and your job isn’t looking so hot at the moment either will cause you to doubt their assertions.  Do.  Doubt them I mean.  They’re as full of crap as a Christmas goose.  And that’s becoming more and more obvious each day as we watch this dance of the dodgers continue.  Because, you know, you can’t handle the truth.  No, that’s not true.  If they tell you the truth, they too will be unemployed.

“Deficit of trust?”

A true understatement.

~McQ

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Race Baiters and Political Correctness

Two of the banes of our existence.  First the old “race baiter” story.  For some out there, symbolism is always more important than substance, or, for that matter, the truth.  Instead of focusing on what is important, they make their living in the trivial, the irrelevant and the unimportant.  The problem, of course, is they have a modicum of power and attempt to use it in the most absurd ways. 

Take Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.)(please!).  He’s upset and demanding a person who is doing critical aid work in Haiti and who had the courtesy to brief the Congressional Black Caucus about that relief effort be demoted.

Why?  Because he’s doing a bad job?  Of course not – because he didn’t have any black faces on his staff when they showed up for the briefing.

“I was alarmed and chagrined to learn that none of the approximately dozen staff he brought with him were African American,” Conyers wrote in the letter. “This is so serious an error in judgment that it warrants his immediate demotion to a subordinate position at AID.”

“Alarmed and chagrined”?  A “serious … error in judgment”? 

No word on how he felt the team was doing in providing aid to Haitians, of course.  This person’s “sin” was not having the proper diversity of staff.  And the punishment for that sin is demotion – Conyers being a compasionate bigot didn’t want to see this person lose their job.

Some day, one can hope, this sort of nonsense will all be a thing of the past.  But it again points out why attitudes such as this and demands for “numbers” over merit hurt African-Americans more than help them.

Then there’s the NBC Cafeteria Story :

So who at NBC thought it would be a good idea for the special today to be, among other things, fried chicken, “in honor of Black History Month”?

The accompanying picture shows the menu (fried chicken, collard greens, etc) topped by a title saying “NBC  – In Honor Of Black Historty Month”.

Apparently this just offended the hell out of some black musician who eats there. 

The irony?

Well, you can see it for yourself, below:

Yes friends, the insensitive lout who foisted this offensive menu on unassuming black folks was an African-American cook who had fought for the last two years to be able to present meals in honor of black history month. To quote her:

It’s not trying to offend anybody and it’s not trying to suggest that that’s all that African-Americans eat. It’s just a good meal.

All I have to say is thank goodness she didn’t put watermelon on the menu for desert – they’d have probably rioted in the street. Need more irony? If you were to go to any place that purported to serve “soul food” and fried chicken wasn’t on the menu, you could rightfully question their authenticity.

The whole point is it is time to move past quotas and taking offense at every preceived slight. Now there’s a controversy about saying “retard”. Certainly we should not purposely offend others. And yes certain words should not be used – the “n” word being primary among them.

But it seems like we spend an enormous amount of energy and time looking for reasons to be offended anymore. That speaks to the success of those who’ve made policial correctness such a pernicious force in our lives. Political correctness (and I extend that to the “diversity mix” Conyers is demanding) has literally destroyed tolerance, which is ironic, given it is the PC crowd that is normally demanding tolerance for other issues they favor.

The NBC story is a perfect example of what that intolerance it brings. The assumption is made that the reason fried chicken is on the menu is someone is totally (and purposely) insensitive and the reaction is to immediately choose to take offense. And that’s a key point.  It is a choice.  It couldn’t just be “a good meal” that the person thought others might enjoy. Nope – the fact that most eating there would enjoy it, and most likely do eat fried chicken by choice when elsewhere must be subordinated to the PC demand that they be intolerant of such a perceived slight and demand the insensitivity be addressed.

This sort of knee-jerk PC stupidity needs to stop. And yes, I’m intolerant of it. So sue me.

~McQ

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