Saturday, November 14, 2009

No one should have a drivers license without a high school diploma ??

I've been in Mississippi for my Aunt and Uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. I found this in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

Living with Children
John Rosemond
Copyright 2009, John K. Rosemond

My oldest grandson, not yet 15, is already taking drivers education. In fact, he’s already been behind the wheel with his instructor, on an interstate highway no less. I’m resigned to his obtaining his license in a little more than a year. I’m not happy about it. I’m resigned. Mind you, he’s more trustworthy and responsible (in my objective opinion) than nine-point-nine out of ten of his peers. He’s a good if not great kid, and as my readers know, my standards are high. Still, I’m shaking my head in incredulous resignation.

With a few truly disfunctional exceptions, everyone's grandchildren are more trustworthy and responsible than nine-point-nine out of ten peers. They are also better looking. Ask any grandparent.

Disclaimer: When my kids turned 16, each received a car from their hugely naïve parents. Would that I had some things to do over again.
Two weeks ago, a San Diego journalist called asking for some quotes for a story he’s doing on teenage drivers. The story was prompted by the recent automobile deaths of two San Diego teens in separate accidents. My beloved grandson’s life flashed in front of me.

I told said journalist that giving a drivers license to a teenage child (and if anyone has failed to notice, they are still children) under age 18 was like giving the kid a revolver with ten thousand chambers, only one of which is loaded with a bullet, and telling him to point it at his head and pull the trigger. Would any responsible parent do such a thing? Then, pray tell, why do otherwise responsible parents allow teenage children to obtain drivers licenses and provide them with cars?

Well, why do we let anyone drive? Why let anyone fly in an airplane? Why let anyone get out of bed in the morning, considering all the risks? Granted, teenagers are 10% of the population, but account for 12% of the automobile craches. The chart in that last link shows ages 16-20 accounting for 5,658 automobile deaths in 2006. That's a five year age span. But ages 21-24 accounted for 4,701 automobile deaths in just a four year age span. Do a little math to equalize the age brackets, either on the high end of the older age group, and the 21-24 (now the 21-25) age group has a higher fatality toll than the teenagers !
In other words, it's not quite honest to compare 5 years worth of teenage fatalities with only 4 years' of their elders. The elders are more dangerous.

When would I allow driving privileges? he asked. When two conditions were satisfied­—the 18th birthday and a high school diploma. Would that reduce the drop-out rate or what?

One thing you learn if you study statistics and economics for very long, even at the high school level: Half the high school kids are below average. I repeat, half the high school kids are below average. Just like half the florists, plumbers, morticians, doctors, fast food restaurants, Beatles albums and philosophy professors are below the "average" for florists, plumbers, morticians, etc.
A lot of those kids can't do high school work, just like a lot of their older brethren can't do college work. But many of them are great drivers. Many of them will become professional drivers. How in the heck do you justify tying high school proficiency to a drivers license?

The 16-year-old driving privilege was established when cars were less powerful, roads were less crowded, and 16-year-olds were considerably more mature than they are today. Furthermore, these laws were passed to allow teens to participate more fully in the operation of family farms. They were not passed with the intention that teens would drive for discretionary, largely recreational purposes.

That paragraph deserves a rant of its own. The government granting "privileges" to the serfs, based on lofty, noble "intentions", and whether or not the driving is discretionary, recreational, necessary, vital, or used to further the glorious ambitions of the state..... Naw. Let's don't get sidetracked.

Do teens need driving privileges, much less cars? Obviously not. In Europe, where teens seem to live satisfactory lives (by all measures, they are much happier on average than US teens), the driving age is 18. Even then, few young adults drive cars. They walk, ride bicycles, use public transportation, or putt around on scooters.
Someone clamors for my attention: “But John! Lots of small towns and rural areas don’t have public transportation!” But the same is true in Europe. And, to repeat, European teens are lots happier than they are on this side of the pond.

This reminds me of the first road trip we made to Oklahoma with our friend and employee Igor, who came from the former Yugoslavia. We were driving north on the I-35 wilderness between Fort Worth and Oklahoma City, seeing nothing but pasture for miles around. Igor finally broke the silence by saying "In my country, we put our towns closer together."

I suggest that the primary reason the driving age is not going to be raised any time soon is because the current law is a huge convenience to parents. They are not only relieved of having to transport the young licensee, but they can also assign him to driving younger siblings to after-school activities and the like. So even though these young drivers cannot vote, state legislators are going to protect their driving privileges. Given that interstate commerce is involved, we can only hope that Congress will take up the issue.

The kid drivers don't just transport younger siblings. They transport.... our parents. Their parents' parents. Think of the implications and reasons for that assignment. I trust my teenage daughter on I-20, and will take a nap in the car when she's driving. If my mother is driving, I'm on full alert. I usually go ahead and take the wheel.

Given the facts, which lead to the inescapable conclusion that giving driving privileges to a teen, any teen, puts the youngster at far, far more risk than letting a 5-year-old play outside unsupervised (which most of the same parents would not allow), I must conclude that this is not, to be polite, the most prudent of moves.

I'd like to see the data on that statement. I don't think anyone keeps records on the danger of letting 5-year-olds play outside unsupervised (although I played outside, unsupervised, both at home and in town quite a bit.) The idea of the current generation of Precious Snowflakes doing anything unsupervised is supposed to terrify us into agreement, though.

I invite anyone out there to justify this to me in rational terms. You can send your comments to me through my website at

Let's look at the data..... From the previous link:

Of Male drivers killed between 15 and 20 years of age 38% were speeding and 24% had been drinking and driving.
About 30% of teens reported that within the previous 30 days, they had been a passenger in a car with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. One in 10 teens said that they personally had driven after drinking alcohol.
Teen drivers killed in auto crashes after drinking and driving, 74% did not wear a seat belt.

And then from the chart. In 2006, 578 drivers who were killed were under 5 years old. 516 were age 5-9. 1079 were age 9-15.

It's illegal to speed, and it's already illegal to drink and drive. We have laws that say you have to wear a seat belt in an automobile. We have laws that prevent 5 year-olds from driving.

But all of those things still happen. Giving the Nanny State another sacrifice on the altar will merely result in more kids giving rides in larger groups. If there are five kids in a car, I want my kid to be the driver, and I don't care if my child is 15 and the others are 19. It's kinda like that grandparent thing, noted above.

We don't need more laws on the books to prevent bad things from happening to kids. Especially when there are more bad things happening to a slightly older group that is already allowed to vote.

Family psychologist John Rosemond’s latest book, The Well-Behaved Child, is now in bookstores.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My new career as a Rent-Seeker

Rent-Seeking behavior.
Once you understand it, you'll see it everywhere.

This morning's browsing unearthed two excellent posts on the subject.

Here's Captain Capitalism.

Here's Little Stevie Smith, at A Beginner's Guide To Freedom.

Stephen, meet The Captain. Captain, this is Stephen. In exchange for introducing you two and sending a smattering of traffic in your direction, I expect to be blogrolled, linked, and quoted liberally on your sites from now on. I'm lobbying Congress to make this a requirement for everything I link in the future. I have, after all, provided this valuable service, and expect to be compensated for it.

I also need grants and subsidies to support the employees I'll be hiring to monitor compliance on your sites. (This will create jobs AND stimulate the economy.) After all, if my employees don't monitor your sites, your sites would remain unmonitored.

Thank you both for being my first clients as a professional Rent-Seeker. My team will keep you posted about any new requirements.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thomas Sowell on the motivations and incentives of politicians

Please stand for this month's reading from The Gospel According To Saint Thomas....

Economist Thomas Sowell, the smartest man in the world now that Milton Friedman is dead, has given us an assortment of new scriptures to ponder.
This month, Saint Thomas gives us a variety of new observations to ponder, mostly on the perverse desires of those who would gain control over every aspect of our lives:

No statement is more unnecessary than the statement that the government should "do something" about some issue. Politicians are going to "do something," whether or not something needs to be done, and regardless of whether what they do makes matters better or worse. All their incentives are to keep themselves in the public eye.

Let us continue with a later next verse:

One of the few advantages to the country in having Congress overwhelmingly in the hands of one party is that the lack of need to compromise lets the leaders of that party reveal themselves for what they are-- in this case, people with unbounded arrogance and utter contempt for the right of ordinary people to live their lives as they see fit, much less the right to know as citizens what laws are going to be passed by their government. The question is whether voters will remember on election day in 2010.

The man has spoken.
Thus endeth the reading from The Gospel According To Saint Thomas.
You may be seated.
Those of you interested in other lessons from this sermon series from the writings of Saint Thomas may go here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fred Phelps, Gays, Jews, and Bullshit

Fred Phelps, the gay and lesbian hating minister of Westboro Baptist Church, recently took his "God Hates Fags" publicity circus to protest outside of Sidwell Friends, the Quaker-founded school attended by Sasha and Malia Obama.

This, of course, is crossing the line.

Phelps likes to protest near military funerals of servicemen and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. His "logic" is that God is punishing us with 9-11 and military failure because of our semi-acceptance of gays and lesbians.

When I started looking for something to post tonight, I figured I would trot out the Biblical Re-interpretation schtick I've been running with for the last few weeks....I could claim to discover that 2000 years of anti-homosexual persecution was due to a typo, and that God Hates Figs, not Fags. I could end the post by suggesting that Phelps go protest outside the headquarters of Fig Newton manufacturer Nabisco. It coulda been funny.

Then I started looking around the Fred Phelps/Westboro Baptist website. There's not much there to laugh about. First of all, they have a link to a charming site called Jews Killed Jesus.

Speaking of Jewish people, here's the Westboro Baptist protest and demonstration schedule schedule, along with Biblical commentary, from November 11th when the church planned to demonstrate outside the U.S. Holocaust Museum:

U.S. Holocaust Museum - You haven't seen ANYTHING, WAIT 4 IT 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl. SW
The sorrow which some Jews experienced during the WWII Holocaust, at the hands of the vicious German, and other Gentiles is NOTHING compared to what the Lord Jesus Christ is going to inflict upon His return.
Check it out, suckers:
2 Thesalonians 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

Flaming fire = holocaust, dummies! The Lord Is Coming. AMEN!

In other words, the pain Hitler inflicted during the Holocaust was nothing compared to what the Holocaust victims are now enduring in Hell. You see, most of those unfortunate people who died in the camps weren't Christians. They didn't believe that Jesus was the one and only sacrifice for their sins. Therefore, God is having them tortured forever.

I'm sorry, but that's bullshit. Fred Phelps' interpretation of it, in my opinion, is 100% accurate. Whoever wrote it meant exactly and precisely what Phelps says it means. If you don't believe that God had a son who was also himself, who died horribly to get Himself to forgive us, then God/Son/Spirit are going to torture you forever. That's what those verses mean.

And that's bullshit. I've yet to meet a Christian who I can't persuade to privately affirm that it's bullshit. Mostly it's because they've never really thought about it. But once you think about it, you eventually realize that there is no Presbyterian Hell For The Torture Of Dead Babies. There is no hell filled with bewildered Asian non-Christians who died in the year 396 A.D. And Hitler's concentration camps weren't a preview of Hell for the Jews who suffered there.

It's the year 2009. We've been to the moon. We're mapping the human genome. I'm sitting in a dining room in Fort Worth, Texas and within an hour people will be reading these words in Australia, Europe, South America, and even Yazoo City, Mississippi. When will we outgrow our tribalism?

In my first 23 years, I read, studied, and memorized more Bible than many of you can imagine. A lot of it is merely false, and some of it is downright harmful. And that passage above, from 2nd Thesalonians? It's bullshit. It causes us to hate the people who aren't like us.

The Islamic beliefs of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the gunman who killed 12 soldiers at Fort Hood? His religious beliefs that "infidels" should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats? That's tribalism. His religion caused him to hate people who weren't like him.'s bullshit.

I'm tired of arguing with people who can't reference anything but bullshit. I'm tired of hearing people justify atrocities by reciting chapter and verse bullshit. I'm tired of enduring people who have no interest in learning about the origins of their bullshit or the evolution of their bullshit.

You can start to view the world through a lens of logic, reason, and basic decency, or you can remain loyal to Tribal Bullshit. Pick a side. Fred Phelps is waiting.

Little girl with God Hates Fags poster came from here.

Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder?

I hate to say this, but the U.S. mainstream media really can't die quickly enough. This is the money quote from the most recent Time magazine essay on the Fort Hood murders:

As an army psychiatrist treating soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Major Nidal Malik Hasan had a front row seat on the brutal toll of war. It is too early to know exactly what may have triggered his murderous shooting rampage Thursday at Fort Hood — Hasan is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 32 others before he was wounded by a police officer — but it is not uncommon for therapists treating soldiers with Post Trumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) to be swept up in a patient's displays of war-related paranoia, helplessness and fury.

There you have it: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder By Proxy. It is "not uncommon".

Thank God for the Brits. Why do I spend more and more time reading British and Australian accounts of our political events? Here's The Telegraph (U.K.):

Fort Hood gunman had told US military colleagues that infidels should have their throats cut
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the gunman who killed 13 at America's Fort Hood military base, once gave a lecture to other doctors in which he said non-believers should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats.
He also told colleagues at America's top military hospital that non-Muslims were infidels condemned to hell who should be set on fire. The outburst came during an hour-long talk Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, gave on the Koran in front of dozens of other doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington DC, where he worked for six years before arriving at Fort Hood in July.

Colleagues had expected a discussion on a medical issue but were instead given an extremist interpretation of the Koran, which Hasan appeared to believe.

Fort Hood killer linked to September 11 terrorists.... It was the latest in a series of "red flags" about his state of mind that have emerged since the massacre at Fort Hood, America's largest military installation, on Thursday....

Red Flags? Nobody has lifted that many Red Flags since Chairman Mao died. Good Lord, for the past year Hasan did everything but behead some infidels in the mess hall, and he still got promoted to major. But I digress....

Here's someone named Jeffrey Goldberg, on the special status given to Muslims in the U.S. media:

Here's a simple test: If Nidal Malik Hasan had been a devout Christian with pronounced anti-abortion views, and had he attacked, say, a Planned Parenthood office, would his religion have been considered relevant as we tried to understand the motivation and meaning of the attack? Of course. Elite opinion makers do not, as a rule, try to protect Christians and Christian belief from investigation and criticism. Quite the opposite. It would be useful to apply the same standards of inquiry and criticism to all religions.

Here's a hint for Time magazine. If someone runs around shooting people while yelling Allahu Akbar (God Is Greatest), his religion might have something to do with the murders.

Hit that link to read about the eyewitnesses to Hasan yelling "Allahu Akbar". It'll take you to an excellent account that appeared in, uhmm, The Guardian (U.K.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Projected Unemployment - with Porkulus, without Porkulus, and Reality Based

This is from Greg Mankiw's blog. Mankiw is an Economics professor at Harvard, where he teaches Econ 101 to our future elites, so they can forget everything he's taught them when they go to be our Lords And Masters in government (ahem) "service".

The light blue line shows what the Teleprompter Jesus predicted would happen if he wasn't allowed to throw $750,000,000.00 to Wall Street, the Unions, Detroit, ACORN, and various manufacturing friends. This 3/4 of a Trillion was to be spent on bridges, roads, and Turtle-Tunnels. This line blue line was generated by Team Obama prior to the bailout. At the time, this line represented the scariest unemployment number imaginable.

The dark blue unemployment line shows what the Teleprompter Jesus predicted would happen if we would just allow his buddies to get into your wallet. Or purse. Or, more accurately, your childrens' savings. This line looks a lot better than that light blue scary line, doesn't it? Once again, these were Team Obama's estimates. What a nice, soothing dark blue line.... Too bad it's as fake fake as a thing that somebody made up to get their hands on some money.

The line composed of the red dots represents what has actually happened with unemployment in the real world, as opposed to the scenarios fabricated by The Chicago Gang. What direction do the red dots seem to be going?

Let me state this one more time, and I'll try to be brief. If you take money from taxpayers to "create" a job, it doesn't count. You're just moving money from the shallow end to the deep end of the pool. The people you're taking the money from don't get to choose which job the money is spent on. Nancy Pelosi gets to decide.

If you print money to "create" a job, that doesn't count either. It produces inflation, now or in the future. We've got a certain amount of money, and a certain amount of stuff. We use one to swap for the other.

Want to create some jobs, some great jobs? Lower the tax burden on business and individuals. Give entrepreneurs a reason to open a factory here, as opposed to, say, North Korea. Encourage the entrepreneurs to get filthy rich, Social Justice be damned. Otherwise, they're going to keep going John Galt on you, and sit on their hands until someone takes over in Washington who is slightly less full of Llama manure.

Want to create some more great jobs? Drop all this business about tax cuts for small and medium-sized businesses. Regardless of the Newspeak coming from D.C., corporations don't pay taxes. Individuals in those companies pay the taxes. Owners, investors, and employees. You don't think that the janitors at a mega-company receive less pay because of corporate taxes? Guess again. At least some of the money flushed to Washington comes out of their potential pay.

Next time some Student Council Refugee starts blathering about tax cuts for small and medium-sized business, he's talking about a tax cut for the #1,#2, and #3 people at those small companies. The #53,487th employee at the mega-corporation isn't eligible for this compassionate tax relief.

Want to create some more great jobs? De-regulate. De-regulate. De-regulate. Remember that the subprime mortgage/real estate crisis was caused by people following regulations to the letter.

Remember that employers aren't looking to hire indentured servants, dependents, or vassals who are going to be with the family for decades. Do you want to set up a business and be required to provide for the health insurance of other people? Do you want a piece of that? Well, most people don't. They also don't want to be lectured on the subject by a 3rd rate Community Organizer who couldn't organize a Chinese Fire Drill in a dead K-mart parking lot.

Let insurance companies operate anywhere in the U.S., so that changing jobs isn't such a risky endeavor. Is there anything that locks someone into a job more than insurance?

Want to do even more, especially for teenagers? End the fake "minimum wage". (The real minimum wage is Zero, and 26% of teenagers are now earning it, the most since World War II.) Let employers pay whatever they want to pay. Let workers agree to work for whatever wage they're willing to take. The teenagers would get some experience. The employers would get some help in a tough time. New businesses would take off. Next thing you know, the employers would have to pay the good workers more and more as they established themselves. It really would be "stimulative" for the economy. Millions of people would find work and make money, but we'll never do it. We're too compassionate.

Oh well. Those are the numbers. This is what we get when government must intervene. For government to do nothing would be irresponsible.

Note to the turtles: I hope you like the tunnels.

September 11th as Architectural Reform

During the unpleasantness of last November, I signed up as a supporter on all the political websites (Demoblican and Libertarian). and I still get mail from both. President Obama left this gem in my inbox sometime last night.

Whited --

This evening, at 11:15 p.m., the House of Representatives voted to pass their health insurance reform bill. Despite countless attempts over nearly a century, no chamber of Congress has ever before passed comprehensive health reform. This is history.

Where to begin, where to begin..... Let's start with the way we use the word "reform". If you destroy something, are you reforming it? Were the 9-11 attacks "Architectural Reform"? In 1941, did the Japanese Air Force carry out a policy of "Naval Reform" at Pearl Harbor? Did Jack The Ripper carry out a policy of Prostitute Reform? Yes, this is history.

But you and millions of your fellow Organizing for America supporters didn't just witness history tonight -- you helped make it. Each "yes" vote was a brave stand....

Brave? Person A takes money from person B to give to person C, so that C will support A in the next election? That's bravery?

.... backed up by countless hours of knocking on doors, outreach in town halls and town squares, millions of signatures, and hundreds of thousands of calls. You stood up. You spoke up. And you were heard.

Speaking of knocking on someone's door, reaching out in a town hall, and making a few thousand phone calls, Joe Cao of Louisiana was the only Republican who voted for this abortion, mostly because it won't allow federal funds to be used for abortions. Please contact Joe, and let him know how you feel about him voting to give government control of the medical industry (because it will keep government out of the abortion industry).
Thank God for Louisiana. Their politicians make those of Texas and Mississippi look like the Founding Fathers.

So this is a night to celebrate -- but not to rest. Those who voted for reform deserve our thanks, and the next phase of this fight has already begun.

Like I said, hit the link. Thank Joe.

The final Senate bill hasn't even been released yet, but the insurance companies are already pressing hard for a filibuster to bury it. OFA has built a massive neighborhood-by-neighborhood operation to bring people's voices to Congress, and tonight we saw the results. But the coming days will put our efforts to the ultimate test. Winning will require each of us to give everything we can, starting right now.

Please donate $5 or whatever you can afford so we can finish this fight.

I suggest you hang onto your $5.00 and start hoarding penicillin.

Tonight's vote brought every American closer to the secure, affordable care we need. But it was also a watershed moment in how change is made.

I just woke up the Sepulchral Wife, half the neighbors, and all 12 dachshunds, banging my head through the refrigerator door. Can ANYONE name something that our government has voluntarily made more affordable? (Note: spreading the costs around to people still in diapers doesn't count.) Your share of the national debt is already near $40,000.00 Your share of the unfunded future liability is somewhere between $350,000.00 and $400,000.00

Safe. Secure. Affordable. As long as you die within 5 years. Everyone after that is screwed.

Even after last year's election, many insider lobbyists and partisan operatives really thought that the old formula of scare tactics....

Here's Thomas Sowell, on the use of scare tactics: What is so wrong with the current medical system in the United States that we are being urged to rush headlong into a new government system that we are not even supposed to understand, because this legislation is to be rushed through Congress before even the Senators and Representatives have a chance to read it?

....D.C. back-scratching and special-interest money would still be enough to block any idea they didn't like. Now, they're desperate. Because, tonight, you made it crystal clear: the old rules are changing -- and the people will not be ignored.

Here's some more from The Good Doctor Sowell: All this makes a farce of the notion of a "public option" that will simply provide competition to keep private insurance companies honest. What politicians can and will do is continue to drive up the cost of private insurance until it is no longer viable. A "public option" is simply a path toward a "single payer" system, a euphemism for a government monopoly.

In other words, the D.C. back-scratchers and special interests are buzzing around this thing like green flies swarming over a fresh cow patty. (That additional commentary is mine, not Dr. Sowell's)

In the final phases of last year's election, I often reminded folks, "Don't think for a minute that power concedes without a fight," and it's especially true today. But that's okay -- we're not afraid of a fight. And as you continue to prove, when all of us work together, we have what it takes to win.

Yep. Anyone robbing Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul. And Joe Cao. Here's Cao going home to read what he voted for. This YouTube is actually on his website:

Please donate to OFA's campaign to win this fight and ensure that real health reform reaches my desk by the end of this year:

I'm tempted to hit the link and send the damn fool some money. If he sends out emails this funny for free, no telling what I can get for $5.00.

Here's Jerry Pournelle: With Detroit a ruin and manufacturing industries on the ropes, small business is the only possible engine of recovery from what they don't call a Depression; so the Congress is going to add an 8% tax on employing people. We already have the longest period of increasing unemployment since the Great Depression; I presume we are going for a really big record setting period of increasing unemployment.

What incentives people have to invest and create new jobs in this environment is pretty murky now; with the health bill there will be fewer incentives to invest in new jobs in the US. The incentives are now to the job black market -- hire illegal immigrants who don't have to have health insurance -- or to export the job if that can possibly be done.

Let's keep making history,

President Barack Obama