Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Stray Voltage

After this past couple of weeks, it is hard to decide which idiocy or outrageousness to talk about.  So I’ll use a couple of pictures to make a point:

homicide_51yr

This, my friends, is the number of homicides, by any means, within the US, since 1950.  It points out that we presently have the lowest homicide rate in 51 year.  OK, chart number 2:

guns_manuf

Here we have the number of guns in the US, by year.  It is acknowledged that there are over 300 million guns in the hands of US citizens.

So, given the homicide rate, where again is the problem? Where is the crisis? Well, there isn’t one … at least not the one the idiots on the left would have you believe.  It’s kind of like their climate change argument, even if the numbers don’t support the conjecture, they go ahead with the conjecture as if it is truth anyway.  And when the facts are presented, they simply turn their head, cover their ears and yell “la la la” like a 3 year old.  It is an amazing thing to watch.  Guns are not the problem.  The problem in Orlando was the product of a culture that is incompatible with ours.  I wonder, if he had nailed all the entrances and exits shut and burned the place, would they be talking about banning matches?  Would they even be talking about matches?  Nope. Probably something just as outlandish like blaming an event carried out by a self-declared Muslim terrorist on Christians.  Oh, wait …

How hysterical has it gotten on the left?  Well, they’re all involved in demonizing a gun that wasn’t even used in the massacre so they can ban it.  And the uncritical among them? Well they’re acting fairly typically.  Like this restaurant owner in Maine:

A restaurant owner in Portland, Maine, has come under attack by gun advocates after she announced she would not allow assault rifle users to eat at either of her venues.

Anne Verrill, announced on the Facebook page of her fine-dining restaurant Grace that after the massacre in Orlando gay club Pulse on Saturday, owners of AR-15 assault rifles were not welcome there or at her other restaurant in Falmouth.

Of course an AR-15 is not (let me say this again for the slow out there – NOT) an assault rifle.  Or, said another way, the AR-15 is not equivalent to an M-16 – which is, in fact, a military grade assault rifle.  The difference, of course, is between automatic and semi-automatic.  And it also includes some much beefier parts for the real assault rifle – the M-16 – that aren’t found on the AR-15.  The reason for those beefier parts is the requirement it be able to fire automatically and sustain that without being damaged.

Why is that?  Regulation?

Semi-automatic AR-15s for sale to civilians are internally different from the full automatic M16, although nearly identical in external appearance. The hammer and trigger mechanisms are of a different design. The bolt carrier and internal lower receiver of semi-automatic versions are milled differently, so that the firing mechanisms are not interchangeable. The design changes were done to satisfy United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) requirements that civilian weapons may not be easily convertible to full-automatic.

So, there you go. Oh, and as mentioned above, the AR-15 had zip to do with Orlando.  But hey, facts, who is worried about those?

Anyway, back to poor misguided Anne of the Mooseville Inn, Chili Parlor and Law School.  After many angry responses, she deleted the post and did a little quick step to the rear on her former hysterical rant.  And here’s the laughable part:

‘I don’t want to take away guns of responsible gun owners,’ the second post said. ‘I don’t care if you have 12 hunting rifles if you are a responsible hunter. I want people to not have the power to own weapons of war.’

See above concerning what this weapon is – it is NOT – (once again NOT) a weapon of war any more than those “12 hunting rifles” the “responsible hunter” may have.  In fact, if I were to guess, many of those 12 hunting rifles are much more powerful than an AR-15.  Since this is picture day, let’s try this one:

13445728_10156902865430417_8867146244243324600_n

Yes you can get a 556 AR-15, but the most popular of them is the .223.  It’s a varmint rifle, for heaven sake.  Here, I’ll tell you what, how about another picture?

Picture-3

OK, see the round on the right?  That’s a .223 round.  The center round? A .308 – a very popular round for hunting.  And finally, the big guy on the left?  The ever popular 30.06.  Hunting rounds.

So, Anne, what were you thinking?  That just because an AR-15 might look like an M-16 that it was exactly like an M-16? If you slap wings and a tail on a car, does it make it an airplane?  Ignorance, dear lady, is what put you in this position.  That echo chamber you’re a part of is not your friend.  But you’ll now suffer the consequences of your ignorance because, as I understand it, there are a whole lot of folks in Maine who like to hunt and also like the AR-15.

Bah!  I’m too frustrated with the level of ignorance out there to continue with this.

Have a good weekend!

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 16 Jun 16

Consumer prices rose 0.2% in May, at both the headline and core rates. On a year-over year basis, the CPI is up 1.0% overall, but up 2.2% ex-food and -energy.

Despite a raft of negative details in the report, the overall Philadelphia Fed Survey rose from -1.8 to 4.7 in June.

The nation’s current account deficit widened in the 1st Quarter, to $-124.7 billion from an upwardly revised $-113.4 billion in the 4th Quarter. 

The NAHB’s Housing Market Index, after holding unchanged for four straight months, those 2 points to 60 in June.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 13,000 to 277,000. The 4-week average fell 500 to 269,250. Continuing claims rose 45,000 to 2.157 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell sharply, down -1.1 points to 42.1 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $9.3 billion last week, with total assets of $4.472 trillion. Reserve bank credit increased $8.7 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $12.7 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 15 Jun 16

The Federal Open Markets Committee’s newest economic projections show a maximum GDP growth rate of 2.2% until after 2018.

May Producer Prices for Final Demand rose 0.4%, while prices less food and energy rose 0.3%. Less trade services, however, prices fell -0.1%. On a year-over year basis, PPI-FD were down -0.1%, up 1.2% less food and energy, and up 0.8% less trade services.

Industrial production fell -0.4% in May, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories fell -0.5% to 74.9%.

Foreign demand for long-term U.S. securities in April fell by $-79.6 billion, fully reversing March’s $78.1 billion inflow.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey rose into positive territory again, rising from -9.02 to 6.01 in June.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -2.4% last week, with purchases down -5.0% and refis down -1.0%.


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A nation gone mad

I’m still sitting here shaking my head as I watch and listen to the left react to the Orlando massacre.

If you simply read their screeds you’d have concluded by now that it was the work of a right-wing Christian (or just a plain old “toxic male”) with an AR-15 instead of a Sig wielding Muslim who had pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call prior to the massacre and was a registered Democrat.

In fact, the AR-15 meme has taken on a life of its own with such luminaries of the left as lyin’ Michael Moore and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and some wimpy NYT metrosexual calling for its ban.  On what grounds one wonders, but hey, they’re leftists – fantasy is their business if it helps them move their agenda one inch further to fruition. Ignore the facts, full speed ahead.  Moore even made up stuff about the round(s) the AR-15 fires claiming they are banned by the Geneva Conventions.  Uh, no.  Not even close.  Pure fiction.

Sally Kohn, a CNN contributor, went on a bigoted anti-Christian rant that attempted, in however a tortured manner, to make a moral equivalence between Christian disapproval of homosexuality and Islam’s death sentence for homosexuals.

Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing gay activist, explains the difference for those who lack the ability to discern it:

There are eleven Muslim countries in which I could be killed for being a homosexual. The state penalty is death. One hundred million people live in country where the penalty for homosexuality is death. This is not radical Islam. This is mainstream Muslim society.

And this isn’t some hazy made-up claim like Michael Moore’s, it’s their law.  Guess who is taking political donations from those countries?

Instead of facing the truth of Orlando, the left, as usual, has chosen to divert and pretend the problem is on the right.  That way, their agenda remains viable and they don’t have to confront nasty little ideological conflicts they’re trying so damn hard to avoid:

“Look what’s happening in Sweden. Look what’s happening anywhere in Germany, anywhere there are large influxes of a Muslim population. Things don’t end well for women and gays. The left has got to make a decision. Either they want female emancipation and it wants gay rights or it wants Islam. It’s got to pick.”

But, at this point, it refuses to do so.  It is more afraid of being called Islamaphobic than it is of condemning a religion/ideology that throws gays off of buildings, burns them or hangs them and treats women as chattel.

That’s what the Sally Kohns, Michael Moores and Bill Ayers of the left should be doing.  Instead they’re after a weapon that wasn’t even used in the massacre and a Constitutional amendment that gives us the freedom to defend ourselves.

Mad.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 14 Jun 16

Retail sales rose a surprising 0.5% in May, with sales less autos up 0.4%, and sales less autos and gas up 0.3%.

Import prices rose a huge 1.4% in May, while export prices rose 1.1%. On a year-over-year basis, however, prices are down -5.0% for imports and -4.5% for exports.

Business inventories rose 0.1% in April, but a 0.9% increase in sales lowered the stock-to-sales ratio from 1.41 to 1.40.

The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism index rose 0.2 points to 93.8 in May.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth rose to a sluggish 0.7% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 0.6%.


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Ignoring the question … again

The Orlando shooting gives our president the chance to finally answer the question millions of Americans have been asking for years:

A young American Muslim pledging allegiance to Islamic State is now responsible for the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. Can we finally drop the illusion that the jihadist fires that burn in the Middle East don’t pose an urgent and deadly threat to the American homeland?

We hope so after the Sunday morning assault on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that killed at least 51 and wounded 53 as we went to press. The killer was Omar Mir SeddiqueMateen, the son of immigrants from Afghanistan who was heard shouting “allahu Akbar” (God is great) as he fired away. Mateen attacked a popular night spot for gays, who are especially loathed in Islamist theology.

Well no, we can’t “drop the illusion” because, guns!

That’s right, never let a tragedy go to waste and certainly never let a tragedy redefine your agenda priorities.  Islamist terrorism? Bah, never heard of it (or at least never have admitted to hearing of it).  Instead call those who try to identify the problem “Islamaphobes” … and screw the 911 call in which the killer pledged allegiance to ISIS or the fact that witnesses say he was yelling “allahu akbar” as he gunned down his victims or the fact that per those who knew him he was intensely homophobic as is his claimed religion.

Instead, let’s talk about guns:

Reporter Peter Doocy asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest: “Does the President really think that common sense gun laws would deter terrorists now that he has admitted that these two may have been terrorists?”

“Yes. The president believes that passing common sense gun laws that makes it harder for people with bad intentions to get guns, makes the country safer,” responded Earnest.

“But so the president thinks that when there are potentially two terrorists sitting around planning a mass murder they may call it off because President Obama has put in place common sense gun laws?” Doocy shot back.

“Why wouldn’t we make it harder for them? What’s the explanation for that?” responded Earnest.

This is the face of insanity.  Why wouldn’t we make it harder for them?  To do what?  Ignore the law?  Maybe someone ought to tell the fools in the White House that those who plan on committing mass murder don’t normally worry about breaking laws.  In fact, it is pretty well known that criminals avoid getting their guns where the left thinks “common sense gun laws” would stop them cold. This is really not rocket science for heaven sake.  And, as usual, the left and the White House seem absolutely clueless about human nature.

A recent study that was conducted by the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab has learned that Chicago criminals do not acquire their guns from gun shops, gun shows or the internet.

The study examined and interviewed inmates in Chicago’s Cook County Jail who are either facing current gun charges, or have a background consisting of firearms related convictions.

The study learned that virtually zero criminals have ever used the internet or gun shows, because that method is easily traceable. It’s much safer for a criminal to acquire firearms on the streets where they’re harder to keep track of, and that’s most criminals method of choice.

Furthermore, University of Chicago Crime lab co-director, Harold Pollack, said that criminals “were less concerned about getting caught by the cops than being put in the position of not having a gun to defend themselves and then getting shot.”

Does the point that “virtually zero criminals have ever used the internet or gunshots, because that method is easily traceable” resonate at all?  Seems “common sense gun laws” are already doing what they’re supposed to do, however, criminals, as they’re likely to do, have decided not to play the game. They’re not going to risk getting caught.  They’re going to go outside the law.

So, then, what’s the point of more laws if not to deny criminals guns?  Seems that’s working rather well.  Is the purpose, then, of more laws, to further hobble legitimate and peaceful gun owners perhaps?  To make it harder and harder for law abiding citizens to own the means of defending themselves?

And what has any of that nonsense to do with what happened in Orlando?

Why, after another tragedy obviously perpetrated by a militant Islamist, is the question still being ignored!?

~McQ

 

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 10 Jun 16

Podcastlogo 150x150

The two things Trump got right put him over the top. Also, we’re heading straight for 60s-style social unrest, and Chloe Grace Moretz displays her delicious donut.

 This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

And the donut we’re referring to is this one:

Donuts

Please do not attempt to write a caption for this picture, or to make any references to any possible symbolism that the donuts may invoke. Just don’t do it.

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Economic Statistics for 10 Jun 16

The US Budget deficit for may was $52.5 billion. The fiscal year to date deficit, at $407.1 billion is 11.0% higher than last year. May’s deficit is actually understated, as calendar issues pushed about $30 billion of payments into June.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index fell -0.4 points in June to 94.3 for the preliminary estimate.


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Stray Voltage

With this latest SJW/liberal push, you have to wonder about the future of Title IX, don’t you?

Human bodies are either male or female, that is the only way they come. Males are physically different than females. Hormones and body modification cannot change that.

That’s a scientific fact, but liberals refuse to acknowledge this basic truth.

The Obama Administration’s directive requiring schools to allow transgender students use the bathroom of their choice has opened the gender dysmorphia floodgates.

For the first time in Alaskan history, a male athlete recently competed in the girls’ track and field state championships. The mother of one of the girls who lost to the transgender runner is crying foul after he took home all-state honors.

Well, well.  No need for female athletes – I mean those born that way – at all, is there?  The floodgates are open.

Bodies with the X/Y chromosome setup develop quite differently than the female body … as the article says that’s a “scientific fact” that has essentially gone undisputed in the history of mankind. Now, apparently. it’s all a “matter of the mind”.  You know, ‘if you think, you are’.  Never mind the wedding tackle, hormones and muscle mass (not to mention agility and strength).  If you say you’re a woman, it is everyone else job to kowtow to the absurd.

The results are, as usual, perfectly predictable.  But I am interested to see, now that they’ve essentially wrecked Title IX, how the liberal elite are going to justify it.

Speaking of the absurdity of all of this, how about when women begin to be hurt?

Critics are scrutinizing mixed martial arts (MMA) competitor Fallon Fox, after the transgender fighter gave her opponent a concussion and broke her eye socket.

Fox defeated her opponent, Tamikka Brents, by TKO at 2:17 of the first round of their match. Brent’s eye injury resulted in a damaged orbital bone that required seven staples.

In a post-fight interview this week, Brents told Whoa TV, “I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life.”

“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not, because I’m not a doctor,” she stated. “I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right. ”

Fox’s “grip was different,” Brents added. “I could usually move around in the clinch against…females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch.”

Sorry Brents, but it was that “scientific fact” from above being used with a vengeance on you.  Because, well, you know, “social justice!”

“Inclusive” as well as “equality” are being redefined by the SJWs:

News that a university lecturers’ union has banned straight, white men from attending their equality conferences in a bid to create “safe spaces” is deeply depressing.

University and College Union equality conferences are held exclusively for women, LGBT, ethnic minorities or disabled people, and members must declare their “protected characteristic” when applying to attend.

Surely UCU can see the irony of hosting an equality conference where – as George Orwell wrote – some are more equal than others?
Apparently UCU is irony impaired.  But then, we’ve seen that to be the case with most of the Special Snowflake causes we’ve been watching.  So much for “equality” and “inclusiveness”.  However, no one should be surprised if these participants wouldn’t lecture you to death about both if you suggested leaving one of their favored self-identified “victims” out of the conference.

The bureaucracy has decided you’re just too dumb to handle “payday” loans, so they’re getting ready to try to shut the industry down.

More than 50 million Americans each year seek access to short-term, small dollar credit.  Generally speaking, these are loans with a maturity measured in weeks or months, for amounts less than $5,000.  This borrowing is used to fund just about everything that other borrowing funds, though on a smaller scale, and more immediately.

These are also loans you can’t get from a bank or other lending institution because they won’t write one for “weeks”.  As for the interest charged, here’s a interesting comparison:

Borrowing money is like renting money. You get to use it two weeks and then you pay it back. You could rent a car for two weeks, right? You get to use that car. Well, if you calculate the annual percentage rate on that car rental — meaning that if you divide the amount you pay on that car by the value of that automobile — you get similarly high rates. So this isn’t about interest. This is about short-term use of a product that’s been lent to you. This is just arithmetic.

Indeed, it is.  And, there are a majority of people who use this product who both benefit and are able to pay it back based on the terms under which they borrow it.

But that’s not good enough for the crowd who thinks they need to tell you how you should live (and would never need such a product, so have no idea whether or not you really do need it).

Read both articles.  The Freakenomics article is pretty well done, while quite long.  But in the end, you’ll probably be like me – none of the government’s business except in the case of force or fraud.  Of course driving this product underground and into the hands of the criminals guarantees both force and fraud, because obviously, the product is a viable one and people need it.  Like most of these attempts by government to rescue you from yourself, this will backfire in a big way.  Entirely predictable, as usual.

Is the grifter close to an actual indictment?  Well, if you listened to Josh Earnest this week (and why would you?), he may have tipped off something he didn’t plan on doing:

Perhaps it was an unguarded moment, but the White House has seemingly confirmed that the Justice Department is conducting a “criminal investigation” regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email use – despite persistent claims from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee that investigators are pursuing a mere “security inquiry.”

Press Secretary Josh Earnest used the term at Thursday’s briefing, after being asked by Fox News about whether President Obama’s newly unveiled endorsement of Clinton might apply pressure to investigators assigned to the Clinton case.

Earnest rejected the premise, saying the job of career prosecutors is to follow the evidence to its logical conclusion.

“That’s why the president, when discussing this issue in each stage, has reiterated his commitment to this principle that any criminal investigation should be conducted independent of any sort of political interference,” Earnest said.

Of course there’s no reason for him to talk about “criminal investigations” unless there’s a “criminal investigation” being conducted is there.  Instead, you just blow it all off.  Maybe this is why Bernie is sticking around.

And, finally, from the usual media realm of the “unexplained” and “unexpected”, another perfectly predictable and explainable event has apparently “surprised” them:

Violent crimes – from homicides and rapes to robberies – have been on the rise in many major U.S. cities, yet experts can’t point to a single reason why and the jump isn’t enough to suggest there’s a trend.

Still, it is stumping law enforcement officials, who are seeking a way to combat the problem.

“It’s being reported on at local levels, but in my view, it’s not getting the attention at the national level it deserves,” FBI Director James Comey said recently. “I don’t know what the answer is, but holy cow, do we have a problem.”

Holy cow, Mr. Comey, check out the “Ferguson effect”.  See if maybe that might have some bearing on explaining this mess.  Maybe, when you have government all but sanctioning violence against cops, the cops decide not to work quite as hard or risk themselves as much as they usually do.  When it is “damned if you do”, most won’t.

Again, the total unawareness of human nature seems to stump a certain segment of leadership who cannot, for the life of them, see how their programs and their actions can have such a negative effect.  And their lapdogs in the media are equally at a loss.

Meh – screw em.

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 09 Jun 16

Wholesale inventories rose a sharp 0.6% in April, but a 1.0% rise in wholesale sales reduced the stock-to-sales ratio to 1.35.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 4,000 to 264,000. The 4-week average fell 7,500 to 269,500. Continuing claims fell 77,000 to 2.095 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was unchanged at 43.2 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $2.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.464 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $1.1 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-11.0 billion in the latest week.


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