The EPA's Mercury Madness

The EPA's Mercury Madness -

Good point.


How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission - ProPublica

This was always a stupid idea. It always meant that the groups with the best organization (i.e. unions) would rule. In the article, they said demographics should have resulted in Republicans holding the seats they had. Instead Democrats are expected to pick up half a dozen.

What emerges is a portrait of skilled political professionals armed with modern mapping software and detailed voter information who managed to replicate the results of the smoked-filled rooms of old.

The losers in this once-a-decade reshaping of the electoral map, experts say, were the state’s voters. The intent of the citizens’ commission was to directly link a lawmaker’s political fate to the will of his or her constituents. But as ProPublica’s review makes clear, Democratic incumbents are once again insulated from the will of the electorate.

What goes up

What goes up, must come down. This time tragically. A girl shot in the head when a gun that was being cleaned 1.5 miles away fired accidentally.


SOPA and the oblivious
It’s bizarre and entertaining to hear people who yesterday were all about allegedly benign and intelligent government interventions suddenly discovering that in practice, what they get is stupid and vicious legislation that has been captured by a venal and evil interest group.

The bill allows the government to censor the internet.


Christopher Hitchens has died. Very sad.

I pick Amazon

Independent bookstores vs. Amazon: Buying books online is better for authors, better for the economy, and better for you. - Slate Magazine

I'd have to agree. I don't see much point in local bookstores...even B&I doesn't get a visit very often anymore. It's just much easier to say "let's see if it's on the Kindle" and start reading it 30 seconds later, than it is to get in the car and go to the B&I at the mall.

We have Amazon Prime as well, which is a great thing. We do all of our Christmas shopping from the comfort of home, then it appears at mom's house half way across the country just 2 days later. Then there are all the Amazon Prime videos, which seems superior to Netflix anyway.

Steve Says: Yes, I agree too. Going to the bookstore might be "something to do" still, i.e. something to get you out of the house. But the bookstore book selection is clearly inferior (especially for science and math), and I often find the reviews of other readers you find on line quite useful. Links to related books are useful too. You can even peek into most books online now. All in all, it's a winning combination.

Party like it's 2008

What's wrong with this headline?

Manpower hiring survey is most optimistic since 2008 - JSOnline

Here's a quote from the article:

The quarterly poll of employers' expectations compiled by Manpower Inc. found "the most promising hiring outlook" since the period that immediately preceded the financial meltdown of 2008, according to the Milwaukee-based global staffing services company

Spot the problem?

It's right here in blue and red, from my latest employment graph:

Yep, 2008 is the year when employment seriously tanked.

So, pop the champagne corks, we can party like it's 2008 again!!

Right and left hands

There were two major summits for Europe last week.

The heads of state of the European Union met last week to try to hammer out an EU and euro-saving agreement. Loaded with mountains of debt and slow growth, the community faces serious threats of a major recession or depression.

Meanwhile, far down south in Durban, South Africa these same heads of state sent bureaucrats down to a climate summit, where they agreed to hamstring their economies and take on more debt, and thus hasten the coming major recession or depression.

Who's to blame for this mess?

Britain and the US and the whole g*& d*&^ Anglo world, of course!!!


Kirsten Powers: Only Question Is If Gingrich Implodes Before Or After Getting GOP Nomination | Mediaite

Yep, that's about it.

Employment numbers

So, is today's unemployment report good news or bad news? The answer is neither of the above; it is actually irrelevant. The reason for this are two words: "Seasonally adjusted". The numbers that come out this month and next, the numbers that the media will all jump upon, will get revised next month and again the month after. Historically, November and December have large, very large downward revisions.

(Keep in mind that the Household survey, which is what they use to calculate the unemployment rate does not get revised. So the 8.6% number is already final.)

Last year, the initial job numbers were downgraded by 483,000 jobs by the time they were finalized. The 2009 numbers were downgraded a whopping 1,299,000 jobs. In 2008 it was revised by 412,000 downwards, and in 2007 it went down 430,000. So, the numbers that came out today will very likely be downgraded by at least 300,000, more likely by 400,000 or more. Combine the two and we are talking about the numbers between now and the end of the year probably being wrong by a combined 850,000 jobs.

The media, of course, rarely go back and correct the record. Here is a chart of monthly revisions. Novembers are unrevised, last month has had its first revision, and September's numbers are final. Here is a graph showing the size and direction of the revisions over the last few years:

So, taking into account that the numbers will likely be completely changed over the next two months, the how do the numbers look? We now have as many jobs (Household survey) in the country as we had in June, 2009...and February, 2005. In other words, there are no more jobs in the country today than there were almost 6 years ago. The Employer survey looks worse. We have the same number of jobs today as in May, 2009...and October, 2004. Celebrate!

Here's the graph showing a slow but steady increase in employment on both the Household and the Employment series:

So, we'll have the real November and December numbers solidified on the first Friday of March. Until then, take these with a big lump of pink Himalayan salt.