Friday, September 5, 2008

Minimum Wages and Unemployment

Well, that didn't take long.
The minimum wage was increased, and unemployment jumped.


NEW YORK ( -- The unemployment rate soared to a nearly five-year high in August as employers trimmed jobs for the eighth straight month, the government reported Friday.
The unemployment rate rose to 6.1%, the highest level since September 2003. That's up from 5.7% in July and 4.7% a year ago.

Here's, from about a month ago:

The phrase "minimum wage law" contains an inherent contradiction. You can't raise the minimum wage. The minimum wage has always been zero, and it always will be zero. Wrap your head around the implications of that, and, as Jesus said, you're getting very close to the kingdom of God.

Here's some more CNN, quoting the current leaders of The Mommy Party (D) and The Daddy Party (R):

But the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said the report points out the failure of Republican policies.
"John McCain showed last night that he is intent on continuing the economic policies that just this year have caused the American economy to lose 605,000 jobs," Obama said in a statement. "John McCain's answer is more of the same: $200 billion in tax cuts to big corporations and oil companies, and not one dime of tax relief to more than 100 million middle-class families."
The McCain campaign argued that Obama's economic policies would cause more job losses in the future.

Here's some more, predicting that the mainstream media just won't get it:

A few months from now, start looking for bewildered print and online editorials about increased unemployment among teenagers and low-skilled minorities. The funniest ones will have no sense of irony, and will end with calls for our government to do something about the problem.

I hope you broke out in giggles while reading the CNN piece. Here's a group that sorta gets it,

Some argue that a higher minimum wage leads to more unemployment. But with wages failing to keep up with inflation, some think more increases are needed.
Congress passed legislation last year that would raise the minimum wage in stages from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 in July 2009. (Several states already have minimum wages higher than that.)
“If labor becomes more expensive, employers will hire fewer workers,” notes a study from the National Center for Policy Analysis, a research firm based in Dallas.
And this appears to be playing out with teenage workers. The unemployment rate for teens this August was 18.9%, up from 16.2% a year ago. Admittedly, teens make up a small percentage of the overall work force - a little more than 4%. But some think higher wages limit any job rebound, especially in a struggling economy.

They're confusing the issue a bit by throwing in the inflation factor. Inflation is an increase in the money supply. If the Fed chose to let us in on how much new money they're throwing into the system? We could predict inflation with near Godlike accuracy. Then we would make them stop throwing new money into the system.

Here's a link to some folks that get it. Mean Ol' Meany says that:

Just this morning, I heard the talking heads screeching about the "unexpected" increase in unemployment at the end of July.
That increase was only unexpected to morons.
Lemme 'splain.
History or past performance is a good indicator of future results or future performance.
What does that mean?
Well, if you undertook an action fifty times in the past, and every single time you did that the same result occurred afterwards, that would tell you that those two indicators were probably tied together.
"You know, every single time that I go bobbing for french fries, I burn my face. What gives?"
"Uh, Homer, you keep dunking your head in a fry vat full of 350 degree grease. Understand?"

I think these people, like me, have spent some time doing price quotes in a manufacturing environment.

Lord have mercy, what a mess. Look at it this way. If someone says that Coca Cola is going to cost $50.00 per bottle, you're going to purchase less Coca Cola. Lower the price to ten cents per bottle, and you'll probably purchase more.

But we can't improve the unemployment rate by eliminating the wage laws.

We're too compassionate.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Darwin's Dangerous Idea - too much for Texas

Laurie Barker James has written an article for Fort Worth Weekly entitled "Devolution In Education".
She outlines the attempts made by various religious and political groups to have Creationism and Intelligent Design taught in the Texas Public School System. Here's an excerpt:

The process of chipping away at the theory of evolution in Texas science curriculum actually began with Texas Proclamation 95 in the mid-1990s. Signed by then-Gov. George Bush, the proclamation requires basic biology textbooks to “formulate, discuss, critique, and review hypotheses, theories, laws, and principles, and their strengths and weaknesses.”
Opponents of the theory of evolution, who are variously called creationists, Young Earth believers, or anti-Neo-Darwinists, have laid the groundwork both nationally and in Texas over the past decade to turn the relatively simple task of curriculum development into a fight over the basic theory of how humans came to be. Whatever you call them, this group of mostly fundamentalist Christians believes in biblical inerrancy. In recent years, many of them have lined up behind the concept of “intelligent design,” which attempts to use scientific terminology to promote the idea that, as it says in Genesis, the world was created in six days. If the Bible is correct, the proponents say, the Earth is very young — less than 7,000 years old.

This, of course, is nuts.
Do a little research on the speed of light. Then figure out how far we are from some of the most remote stars. Figure out how long it has taken the light from those stars to reach our telescopes. You'll get a number that's greater than 7,000.
I remember watching some guys put in a new irrigation well on our farm in Mississippi. The routine they used was to drill down, then bring the auger back up, then drill a little deeper, and bring the auger back up. On the return trip from one of the deepest plunges, the auger came back with a chunk of a tree in it. Even within the flood plain of the Mississippi River, trees couldn't be buried under that much silt in just 7,000 years.
Look at the current height of The Rocky Mountains. Look at how much they are growing each year. (Not much, but they grow). Divide the height by the growth rate. Big number.
The Bible, in this case, isn't a document that should be seen as "right" or "wrong". The word "Truth" instead of the word "Fact" is more appropriate. Here's some more Laurie James:

The argument at the root of the issue is biblical inerrancy, a doctrine as old as the Christian church itself. Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, early scientists and Christians, challenged the Catholic Church’s doctrine on the Earth as the center of the universe.
We can now demonstrate that the Earth moves around the sun, not vice versa. Back before the Protestant Reformation, however, even scientific evidence drew a penalty when it came into conflict with accepted interpretation of what the Judeo-Christian Bible (which had been translated from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek and then Latin at that point) said. Perhaps it’s fittingly ironic that Charles Darwin, who proposed the theory of evolution in the mid-1800s, was first a ministry student before a voyage aboard the Beagle changed the course of his future. Now people of diverse faiths — clergy as well as laypeople — accept the theory of evolution and want to see it taught in schools.

Well, yeah, they do. But they're not very vocal about it.
Part of our problem is the lack of a hierarchy in many of our Protestant denominations. (You may have noticed that the Catholics are strangely silent on the evolution issue. They learned some things from the Galileo incident. If a priest were to start railing against Darwin, I think everyone higher up the food chain would tell him to shut up.) Anyone in the U.S.A. who cares to do so can start a church, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's a very libertarian thing. But they can also claim to speak for God, and in defense of God. There's no one around to provide any historical context.
Why does God need defending? Who is attacking God?
The Godless Evolutionists, and they make a perfect enemy for fund-raising appeals.
God used to get credit for putting us at the center of creation, aiming the lightning, causing the earthquakes, and making us out of mud. Science has been explaining more and more of these phenomena.
But the Creationists don't understand the difference between Religion and Science, between Truth and Fact.
Elsewhere in the article, an acquaintance of mine tries to explain things:

Ralph Mecklenburger, the rabbi at Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation, has been paying attention to the debate about Texas’ science curriculum. As an expert in the Torah, or Old Testament, upon which the proponents of intelligent design base their theories, the rabbi is concerned with misinterpretation.
“Has evolution been demonstrated experimentally? Yes, many times,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Intelligent design, on the other hand, may be true, but until someone comes up with a way to test it, it will not be science.”
Many scientists echo Mecklenburger’s statement that, despite challenges, the theory of evolution has held up for more than a century. Those scientists and many teachers believe that intelligent design proponents ignore the proofs and use outdated information to hammer away at accepted science. Historically, Jews found the Bible to be “full of memorable ways to teach values, but we know it is not science,” Mecklenburger said. “We deny that science and religion conflict, but that is because we recognize that the Bible is about religion, not about science.”
Well said. (Rabbi Mecklenburger once came to Broadway Baptist Church and put together a combination Seder/Communion service. It was the first time in my life that I understood the context for what Jesus was trying to say. But I digress....)

Now that a Creationist has been nominated for the Vice Presidency, I'm betting that Evolution vs. Creationism will be an increasingly hot topic as we approach election day. In the meantime, enjoy this logo from an upcoming event at Texas CHRISTIAN University, 2008's TCU Family Weekend.....

I think it's now safe to say that Darwin's Dangerous Idea has gone mainstream everywhere but in the Texas Public School system.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ron Paul's "Rally For The Republic" in Minneapolis.

Here's some video from Ron Paul's "Rally For The Republic", intentionally held in Minneapolis at the same time as The Daddy Party (R) convention.

Here's the text of a Lew Rockwell speech entitles "The Calamity of Bush's Conservatism", given at the same event.
And here's a Washington Post video from the libertarian event in Minneapolis. The main contrast between Dr. Paul's party and the one on the other side of town? The libertarian one appears to be sold out.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The New & Improved Tarrant County Libertarian Party Website

Back in March, I lamented the lack of activity on the Tarrant County Libertarian Party website.

John Spivey, the leader of the Tarrant County LP meetup group, emailed me. I started going to meetings, got involved, got to meet Bob Barr, and have made a lot of great friends.

Now they've given the website an extreme makeover. Save this link. Check it every week, unless you have a sentimental attachment to bloated bureaucracy and your share of the 9.5 trillion dollar national debt.
We're having another meetup at 1:00 p.m. September 6th at Grapevine's "Love And War In Texas". (L&W in TX is one of the best alt-country music venues in the DFW area, BTW.) Please join us if you can.
John and Company have done an outstanding job with the new Tarrant County Libertarian Party website. (Pay no attention to their page of Favorite Blogs....)

Vikings for Palin: 3 questions you should ask before voting

Shortly after nominating Sarah Palin (center) for Vice President, John McCain's support among the Viking community increased from a lackluster 38% to 62%.


1) Was Palin's nomination a blatant attempt to woo disgruntled Democrats who are upset that Obama didn't nominate a Viking as his running mate?

2) Is this a blatant pander to Republicans who feel that McCain doesn't have the military skills to pull off our upcoming invasion of Sweden?

3) Or is this nomination an attempt to woo values voters who believe our nation was founded on the Norse principles of Thor and Odin?

Picture from here.

Happily Oblivious

As a service to our republic, and to the world....
There's a new libertarian blog called Happily Oblivious.
Go there. Those people make me look like Naomi Klein.
I get a feeling they're going to be heard from.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Theological Implications of Hurricane Gustav

I had an interesting conversation tonight with a friend of mine who is a retired judge. He's a partisan of The Mommy Party (D), and we were sitting with a few guys that lean toward The Daddy Party (R).
The judge asked my opinion on the theological implications of Hurrican Gustav.
He may or may not have read my rant about Focus on The Family's Stuart Shepard asking people to pray for torrential rain on the night of Obama's nomination speech in Denver, but he figured I'd be aware of it.
The judge offered up the following, somewhat tongue in cheek:

1. Since God declined to mess up Obama's nomination speech, but sent Gustav to New Orleans during the Republican convention ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF KATRINA, it was a sign that God has turned his face away from the Republicans, and toward the Democrats.

2. I countered with this: Since failing to render aid during two consecutive New Orleans hurricanes would be unbelieveable even for this lame administration, Gustav gives The Daddy Party (R) a perfect excuse to avoid a Bush/Cheney appearance in Minneapolis. Who knows how much planning took place trying to minimize the effect of those two albatrosses at the convention. This gave Bush/Cheney justification to gracefully bail on the event, and deprived the Democrats of some wonderful sound bites.

Therefore God is smiling on the Republicans with the appearance of Hurricane Gustav. A hurricane hitting a major city would do far less damage to the city than Bush would do to the Republicans at this point.

3. God controls the weather, but it's not about politics. He's trying to teach us that we shouldn't build cities below sea level.

4. Here's another possibility. God controls the weather, but it's not all about us. Just because CNN and Fox and MSDNC are obsessed with conventions, that doesn't mean the creator of the universe is. There might be some catfish stranded in a stock tank that need to make their way to the Mississippi River, and Gustav was sent to do the job. Who knows.

4. God set everything in motion at the time of the Big Bang. We've had nothing but cause and effect relationships since then. What happens is what God wants. Do a Google search on "Calvinism". New Orleans is getting the hurricane that God wanted.

5. God set everything in motion at the time of the Big Bang. We've had nothing but cause and effect relationships since then. Whatever happens is inevitable, but not "predestined", since God doesn't care, intervene, or look in on things. Do a Google search on "Existential Theism". New Orleans is getting what was bound to happen, but God didn't cause it.

6. There is no such thing as Divine Intervention. We are on our own. God isn't going to protect us or turn back the storms. Therefore, we shouldn't build cities below sea level since they tend to flood. We shouldn't build cities along the gulf at the mouth of a major river. Those cities tend to flood. They are hurricane magnets, and we'll have to rebuild those cities every couple of decades if we stubbornly continue rebuilding.

But if God really did want to teach us these simple facts, how would he/she do it, short of coming down from heaven and issuing a declaration?

Probably by sending some hurricanes.

Pictures courtsey of here and here and here and here.

Carnival Of The Libertarians, Labor Day Edition

Welcome to the August 31, 2008 edition of carnival of the libertarians !
I got a lot of great entries this time. We'll do it again in about a month. As always, blogrolling, and reciprocal links to this post and this site are appreciated. Happy Reading !

Michael Bass presents The New Pledge of Allegiance posted at Debt Prison, saying, "I pledge allegiance to the United Coporations of America…. and to the Oligarchy for which it stands, one police state under tyranny, in debt, with welfare and hedonism for all"

blewsdawg presents Minneapolis Cops Get Medals For Raid On Wrong House! posted at InFrequently Asked Questions, saying, ""The easy decision would have been to retreat under covering fire. The team did not take the easy way out," Dolan told the crowd. "This is a perfect example of a situation that could have gone horribly wrong, but did not because of the professionalism with which it was handled."

What part of this did not go wrong?"

blewsdawg also presents So Who's Going To Lose Their Job? posted at InFrequently Asked Questions, saying, "The Mayor of Minneapolis is embarrassed about the cops who received medals for raiding the wrong house, and has laid the smack down on the Police Chief. Sort of."

Phil B. presents Companies are Taking Over the World posted at Phil for Humanity, saying, "A vast number of politicians, from around the word, have been bought and paid for by big businesses."

Michael Snyder presents 15 Things That Are Wrong With America posted at The Moral Collapse Of America.

Dana presents Parents’ constitutional liberty interest in education posted at Principled Discovery.

Archvillain presents That?s some fine police work there, Lou posted at A Dark and Sinister Force for Good, saying, "The police are supposed to be Public Servants."

Jeffrey Stingerstein presents Say "NO" to the Windfall Profit Tax posted at Disillusioned Words.

Urbain Beck presents Work ‘Til You Drop Dead — It’s Patriotic! posted at NOT a Guru!.

Andrew Ian Dodge presents Climate fascism posted at Dodgeblogium.

Alvaro Fernandez presents Neurogenesis and Brain Plasticity in Adult Brains posted at SharpBrains: Your Window into the Brain Fitness Revolution, saying, "Adults may have a tendency to get set in their ways – I’ve been doing it this way for a long time and it works, so why change? – Turns out, though, that change can be a way to keep aging brains healthy."

NotYourDaddy presents Affirmative Action Has Run its Course posted at Government is not your Daddy., saying, "Crutches are undeniably beneficial when one has a broken leg, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to rely on them permanently. Up to a point, they’re necessary to allow the injury to heal. But using them longer than necessary will eventually atrophy the very muscles that need to be strengthened to effect a full recovery."

Jeffrey Stingerstein presents I Love the NRA and the ACLU posted at Disillusioned Words, saying, "I put other because this covers the 2nd amendment and privacy"

Jeffrey Stingerstein presents » Thoughts on the 2008 Election (Part Three: Religion) Disillusioned Words: atheism, art and politics posted at Disillusioned Words.

Aahz presents Labor Unions And Freedom Don?t Mix posted at Philaahzophy, saying, "Happy Labor Day to my fellow slaves of the state :)"

Aaron Powell presents How the Bias for Intent Makes Fools of Us All posted at Aaron Ross Powell.

David Gross presents Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" posted at The Picket Line, saying, "Some time after I heard that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had died, I pulled "The Gulag Archipelago" from the shelves and found that I’d left some bookmarks in it. Here are some of the quotes I'd flagged."

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