5/25/10

Random political stuff

I agree with Rand Paul's point that private businesses should be exempt from the Civil Rights Act. That should be a restriction on government, not on private business.
I can say that because I'm not interested in being a politician and my job doesn't depend on me keeping myself from saying what I think.

Nevertheless, if I had been alive in 1964 and somehow found myself in Congress then I would have voted to pass the Civil Rights Act even though it was not been perfect. There's a difference between political decisions and what's correct.

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WEW hosting RUSH

Walter E. Williams will be hosting the Rush Limbaugh Show 5/25/10 from noon EST.

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KWAME CONTINUES TO FALL

I briefly met former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at an education conference a few years ago. He was bigger than life, had a Marion Barry larger-than-life type of personality, and he greeted everyone, including me, like they were long-lost friends.
He was booted out of office a few years ago when it was revealed in sexual text messages that he had lied under oath. He has been struggling since then and now faces jail time again.

Amazing. Just a few years ago he was heralded as part of a new generation of black leaders. According to the article, "Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in 2008 after sexually explicit text messages became public, showing he had lied under oath about an affair with a staff member in a whistle-blowers' lawsuit. He resigned, served 99 days in jail, agreed to give up his law license, repay the city $1 million, and stay out of politics for five years."

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42.7 % OF PEOPLE COMMIT SUICIDE AFTER READING ABOUT IT

A writer in the Korea Times opines: "Several decades ago, with fewer gadgets, life was happier and suicide less common."

I really hate it when people try to explain why people commit suicide. We really don't know. Of course, everyone ties the increasing number of suicides to whatever they believe is a problem in society. It may be that more people are committing suicide because with more gadgets and better technology they can live longer, but some get tired of it. I'm not saying that is true, just to point out that explanations are like statistics--as the saying goes, 42.7% of statistics are made up on the spot.

The writer adds: "
Without any hindrance in face to face conversations (i.e. the constant ringing or vibration of a cell phone), people could put more effort into hearty discussions. Conversations then were neither disrupted nor disturbed; they were more meaningful in effect."

People who know me know that I ignore my cell phone when I choose to do so. I may be the last man on the planet without Facebook. I've never done MySpace. I don't remember my Skype account number. If people want to do something their own way then they can!


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MINIMUM WAGE KILLS JOBS, LIVING WAGE KILLS PROJECTS





'Living wage' kills projects, Mayor Bloomberg says, according to the New York Daily News. Should not be surprising that artificially setting wages at an arbitrary level will result in bad economic results.

How long will it be until Bloomberg says that the minimum wage prices a lot of people out of the job market. 

An option to have a job at a low wage is better than a theoretical job at a higher wage.


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CHECK WAS IN THE MAIL

This kind of story pops up from time to time:: Piles of undelivered mail found in Mich. shed.

How long could a FedEx or UPS driver get away with not delivering packages? The guy says he was overwhelmed. He may have disrupted lives by not delivering mail, some of which could have been payments, letters to loved ones, etc.

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TRADE DEFICIT NONSENSE

One of the absolutely dumbest statistics that people keep track of is trade deficits. Today the Korea Times informs us that North Korea has 'suffered' a trade deficit for two decades.

1) Does anyone expect that countries will always have "balanced" trade? It is a stupid premise to begin with.

2) According to the article: "North Korea exported a total of $790 million worth of merchandise to China in 2009 while importing $1.9 billion made-in-China products. Pyongyang mainly bought crude oil, machinery and electronic goods."

What should the balance be?

3) So...the North Koreans who suffered from the "deficit" didn't get anything in exchange? Think about your everyday life, you have "deficits" with most of the business people you meet--grocers, pharmacists, department stores.

When is the last time Bill Gates or Steve Jobs bought something from you?

4) According to the article: "Transactions with South Korea were excluded from the survey because the two are of the same ethnicity. Inter-Korean trade in 2009 was $1.7 billion, down 7.8 percent from 2008. "

So if a Korean person in China buys something from a North Korean in North Korea then it is part of a "trade deficit." But a Korean person in South Korea buying something from a someone in North Korea then that "deficit" isn't included.

5) Okay, I'm not the first to make this point. Adam Smith (1776) wrote:
"Nothing, however, can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade, upon which, not only these restraints, but almost all the other regulations of commerce are founded. When two places trade with one another, this doctrine supposes that, if the balance be even, neither of them either loses or gains; but if it leans in any degree to one side, that one of them loses and the other gains in proportion to its declension from the exact equilibrium. Both suppositions are false."

6) As I wrote in the Korea Times nine years ago: As [James] Ingram explained it, an unknown entrepreneur discovers a way to turn wheat and lumber into cars. His factory, which had been built on the edge of town near the sea, was off-limits to protect his secret process. As wheat and lumber were turned into products consumers wanted the businessman was hailed as a hero across the country.
Then, a journalist investigates. He finds a former employee who reveals that the large factory is empty. There was a large hole in the back of the factory, where ships imported cars and exported grain. Because of the news story, the businessman was vilified for driving up the nation's trade deficit, eliminating U.S. jobs, and destroying the nation's automobile market.

CJL