Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Another chapter in “WTF”?!

Seems college isn’t about college anymore – at least at Oberlin.  The shot:

recent piece in The New Yorker examines the effects of a new wave of student activism at Oberlin College, a small, private liberal arts institution in Ohio, and it’s pretty eye-opening.

According to writer Nathan Heller, Oberlin is “at the center of the current storm” of activism on college campuses, with students heavily involved in issues including classroom diversity, safe spaces, racial inequality and social injustice.

Due to the intense focus on those issues, many progressive students are dropping out.

They claim that their activism is getting in the way of their studies, and other students, the faculty and the administration have made it impossible to live on campus.

The chaser:

Heller spoke to self-identified “Afro-Latinx” student Megan Bautista, who said that she was upset that the school refused her demand to erase any grades below Cs.

“A lot of us worked alongside community members in Cleveland who were protesting (the death of Tamir Rice in the fall of 2014 – ed.). But we needed to organize on campus as well—it wasn’t sustainable to keep driving forty minutes away. A lot of us started suffering academically.” In 1970, Oberlin had modified its grading standards to accommodate activism around the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings, and Bautista had hoped for something similar. More than thirteen hundred students signed a petition calling for the college to eliminate any grade lower than a C for the semester, but to no avail. “Students felt really unsupported in their endeavors to engage with the world outside Oberlin,” she told me.

But that’s not the real world even if it is the world the students feel they need to embrace.

It’s funny to me.  You go to college and you essentially make a commitment to that college to take classes you choose and to perform well enough to get a good grade.  Then … squirrel!  Suddenly that commitment is put on the back burner as you discover a new and more important one.  Well, more important to you.  The old, “I want my cake and I want to eat it too” selfishness of a child who has always gotten their spoiled way.

And who is supposed to suddenly change the rules because you’ve decided on this new commitment and thrown over the old one?  Oh, yeah, the institution you made the previous commitment too.

Students should feel “really unsupported” by the school because they’ve reneged on their commitment to the school. Why should the school feel obligated to support them if they don’t feel obligated to their commitment to the school?

Mature folk actually know the right answer to that question.   The immature?  See above.

Maybe they should offer a Maturity 101 course for these children.

~McQ

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Former McDonald’s CEO goes one for two

Ed Rensi is the former CEO of McDonalds and he commented on the reality of a $15 minimum wage and how most businesses will handle it:

I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry — it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries — it’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe.”

He continues, “It’s not just going to be in the fast food business. Franchising is the best business model in the United States. It’s dependent on people that have low job skills that have to grow. Well if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work. It’s just common sense. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And the more you push this it’s going to happen faster.”

That’s the one he got right.  Here’s the one he got wrong:

I think we ought to have a multi-faceted wage program in this country. If you’re a high school kid, you ought to have a student wage. If you’re an entry level worker you ought to have a separate wage. The states ought to manage this because they know more [about] what’s going on the ground than anybody in Washington D.C.

Good grief, Mr. Rensi, why not let the market handle it?  You know, supply and demand?  What the heck is wrong with you?  You wouldn’t even be discussing this if government hadn’t intruded and decided unilaterally that you should pay your employees a certain amount of money for their labor.  It is because of government you’re even discussing automation above.  And now you think government – even state government (you know like California or New York?) – would be the solution?

Really?

And you were a CEO of a major corporation?

Wow.

~McQ

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Where does this administration find these idiots?!

I’m sorry, I’m a little angry today.  That’s because of this statement:

“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?” McDonald said Monday during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters. “And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”

That’s a statement by VA Secretary Robert McDonald addressing a question about excessive wait times at VA facilities.  All I can figure is he must have been a rather mediocre product of public education because this screams “STUPID!”.

When waiting in line for “Space Mountain”, Mr. Secretary, do people die?  No?  Then, you idiot, it’s not a valid comparison.

And secondly, what sort of “satisfaction with the experience” can someone who died waiting have, dumbbell?  I’ll tell you now, since it is obvious you can’t figure it out – a very UNSATISFACTORY experience.

But of course, the dead can’t speak, can they you moron?!

Tell you what, why don’t you quit trying to find ways to explain the excessive wait times that are killing veterans and fix the effing problem?  Ever think of that?

Disney!

What a freaking imbecile.

~McQ

 

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Stray Voltage

Is science in a death spiral?

Over-reliance on models, misapplication of statistical methods, and lack of repeatability are the hallmarks of the new pseudoscience that is replacing the traditional practice of science, real science. Has science entered a death spiral, as indifferent, inept scientists raise up new generations of even poorer researchers? The facts look grim.

Now perhaps the contention that science might have entered a “death spiral” is a bit of an overstatement, but there is no question that it has, in a way I’ve not noticed before, begun serving politics in many areas.  Agenda driven science – the money dictates the outcome – is clearly upon us.  And in that regard, it is apparent a significant portion of “science” is “for sale”.

Economic ignorance has struck again as the Obama Administration has unilaterally decided that the overtime rules need to be revamped and expanded to include overtime pay for higher wage workers.  As usual, they seem completely unfamiliar with the concept that labor is a cost to business.  And therefore, increasing costs usually means less profit.  So since businesses are all about profit (not paying higher and higher wages or providing jobs), business will do what is necessary to allay these costs.  The White House is sure it has hit on a means of making the middle class “stronger”.

Increasing overtime protections is another step in the President’s effort to grow and strengthen the middle class by raising Americans’ wages.  This extra income will not only mean a better life for American families impacted by overtime protections, but will boost our economy across the board as these families spend their hard-earned wages.

Yup, they’ll spend their hard earned increased wages on products with now higher prices, because, you know, labor is a cost to business and there are only so many ways you can lay off that increased cost.  One of them, of course, is automation.  What the administration is doing, by this economically ignorant move, is making automation more attractive.

Oh, and as Reason points out, how smart is it to make labor cost more in a struggling economy (2% growth).  Not very.

Yes … the outcome of this sort of nonsense is completely predictable, as usual.  Damn those laws of economics!

If you’re interested in the latest in uncritical thinking from the SJWs of the left, try this:

“How am I a white supremacist?” self-described “white ally” Emily Pothast asks in a piece for The Establishment titled “True Confessions Of A White Supremacist.”

“Well, I was born and raised in the United States of America, a country built by slave labor on stolen land, and every privilege I’ve ever enjoyed has come at the expense of someone else’s oppression,” she answers.

[…]

“The very foundations of my way of life are in white supremacy, and the list of microaggressions I have committed, and will no doubt continue to commit in spite of my ‘good intentions’ for as long as I’m alive, is virtually endless,” she writes.

Everything she is, has or ever will be has “come at the expense of someone else’s oppression”.  What a absurd take this misguided youth has on her life.  This is purely the result of combining uncritical thinking with a single point of view from which one isn’t allowed to deviate.  I say uncritical thinking because it wouldn’t take much in terms of basic reasoning to know how badly flawed this premise is.  She undoubtedly thinks she has penned something brilliant because her echo chamber (and mentors in this silliness) have made approving noises about her groveling bit of self-criticism and apparent “enlightenment”.

I call them The New Red Guard for a reason.

You remember the Rolling Stone story about “Jackie” at the University of Virginia who claimed to have been raped at a fraternity party by five guys?  Well, that story fell apart quickly when people, other than the Rolling Stone author, actually started to look into the details.  Of course plenty of damage had been done by then, but it pretty much discredited “Jackie” and Rolling Stone (not a first for them).

Well, there are civil suits going on now and apparently, the plaintiff’s lawyers in the case may have found a “smoking gun” in reference to “Jackie” and her false charges:

New evidence shows that a University of Virginia student who alleged that she was gang raped at a campus fraternity created the fake persona of the alleged ringleader of the attack, according to lawyers representing a U-Va. official who is suing Rolling Stone magazine for defamation. …

The data from Yahoo that Eramo’s lawyers acquired via subpoena shows that the e-mail account “Haven.monahan@yahoo.com” was created on Oct. 2, 2012 while connected to U-Va.’s computer network. The next day, Duffin received an e-mail from “Haven” passing on a letter Jackie had written to “Haven” about Duffin. In the letter, Jackie confesses her love for Duffin.

If you’ve followed the case you know the “fake persona” was key to Jackie’s claims.  Now, it appears, it was Jackie who created Mr. Monahan.

Rape and rape allegations should be taken seriously, got that … we all have got that.  But there isn’t anything lower than someone who sets out to fabricate a felony offense against others for whatever stupid reason.  And they should have their lives ruined … just like they attempted to ruin the life or lives of others.  Rape charges should be taken seriously.  But not anymore seriously, in my opinion, that false rape charges.  As someone said once after being falsely charged, “where do I go to get my reputation back?”  And, in the age of the internet, we all know the answer.

For the latest chapter in the ongoing academic Theater of the Absurd, starring the special snowflakes of the millennial generation, we have to travel to California State University – Los Angeles, where a special batch of SJWs are having one heck of a time getting over their trauma of two months ago:

“On February 25th, our campus experienced immense hurt and trauma,” states the description for the event, which will take place on Tuesday night.

“Almost two months later, students are still feeling the emotional, mental, and physical effects that this event posed, and nothing has been done to facilitate our healing,” it continues. “How can we help each other heal and move forward? How were you affected emotionally, physically, psychologically?”

Thankfully there’s been a “healing space” set up for these poor traumatized and abused children.

Of course the fact that most of them didn’t even attend the speech in question isn’t important here … it’s how they “feel” in relation to it.

Ack, I can’t take anymore of this.

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 19 May 16

The Philadelphia Fed survey went into slightly more negative territory in May, down -0.2 to -1.8.

Conversely, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index turned positive, rising 0.55 points to 0.10 for May.

The Conference Board’s  index of leading economic indicators shot up 0.6% in April. 

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 16,000 to 278,000. The 4-week average rose 7,500 to 275,750. Continuing claims fell 13,000 to 2.152 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.9 points to 42.6 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-4.7 billion last week, with total assets of $4.474 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $8.9 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-9.7 billion in the latest week.


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Windpower: Danes out while US has new plans to extend endangered species kill license for 30 years

Denmark is abandoning wind power.  Up till now, Danes had been paying very high energy bills, 66% of the bill being “green taxes” and only 15% going to energy generation.  Under pressure from Danes, who enjoy the highest energy prices in Europe, Danish politicians are abandoning wind power as “too expensive”:

Denmark’s government abandoned plans to build five offshore wind power farms Friday amid fears the electricity produced there would become too expensive for Danish consumers.

“Since 2012 when we reached the political agreement, the cost of our renewable policy has increased dramatically,” said Climate Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt, a Liberal Party politician representing the country’s minority government, according to Reuters.

The government would have had to pay $10.63 billion to buy electricity from the five wind farms — a price deemed too expensive for consumers who already face the highest electricity prices in Europe.

“We can’t accept this, as the private sector and households are paying far too much. Denmark’s renewable policy has turned out to be too expensive,” Lilleholt said.

Imagine that.  The fact that “renewable energy” forms have been installed doesn’t equal “cheap energy” (much like ObamaCare doesn’t mean “cheap insurance”, even though you were led to believe it would).  And all of them have required some sort of subsidy to survive – which means they’re obviously not self-sufficient (that meaning that they can’t produce a product at a price that consumers are willing to pay and make enough profit to ensure their continued production).  In fact, I’m having a very rough time finding any “renewable” source of energy that is self-sufficient.

Of course, the reason for the emergence of “green” and “renewable” energy sources is the “global warming” scam.  That scam allows the environmental extremist agenda full run with your money.  And this, so far, has been the result (don’t forget Spain).

Meanwhile, in the US, we’re apparently going to continue with the fiasco and while we’re at it, kill more endangered species by extending the license to kill them that wind farms already have to 30 years:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency charged with protecting bald and golden eagles, is once again trying to make it easier for the wind industry to kill those birds.

Two weeks ago the agency opened public comment on “proposed improvements” to its eagle conservation program. It wants to extend the length of permits for accidental eagle kills from the current five years to 30 years. The changes would allow wind-energy producers to kill or injure as many as 4,200 bald eagles every year. That’s a lot. The agency estimates there are now about 72,434 bald eagles in the continental U.S.

And the media, which will make sure to run the picture of an oil soaked bird above the fold on page one and in the lead on newscasts, is not interested in this story at all.  As for the enviros? Well, much like the so-called feminists were willing to remain silent about Bill Clinton’s sexual abuse of women, they must also have malleable principles that allow them to sanction at least 4,200 chopped up bald eagles a year for the sake of “green energy”.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 17 May 16

A jump in gas prices sent the Consumer Price Index up 0.4% in April, but up only 0.2% less food and energy prices. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 1.1% overall, and up 2.1% less food and energy.

Housing starts rose 6.6% in April, to a moderate 1.172 million annual rate, but the year-over-year rate dipped negative, to -1.7%. Building permits, an indicator of future housing activity, rose 3.6% in April to a 1.116 million rate, but the year-on-year rate is even more negative, at -7.2%.

Industrial production rose 0.7% in April, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories rose 0.6% to 75.4%.

E-Commerce retail sales for the 1st Quarter of 2016 came in with an unexpectedly strong 3.7% increase, and a 15.2% year-on-year increase.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth slowed into the doldrums again, up 0.5% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.1%.


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