Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014

All Day Long

4-20 All day, baby...all day long.

Burn it if you got it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Chase Is On

Chase Elliott is on the move. As much as I scorn Nascar and the Frances, I am glad to see this young mans success.

Nationwide Series rookie Chase Elliott (center) poses in Victory Lane at Darlington with his parents Cindy and Bill Elliott, the 1988 Sprint Cup champion.  

A Really, Really Bad Idea

From to-days Washington Post, an article by Josh Hicks at The Federal Eye:

Should the IRS use private firms to collect taxes?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Where the Money Comes From

Looks like most of it comes from Mr. & Ms. Joe Six Pack


Where the Money Goes

Why Americans Still Feel Poor

We Have Empty Socks

Wages are improving but our housing wealth is well below historic trend. Not surprising to have a demand constrained economy when folks feel poorer. To avoid housing bubbles it appears compensation must grow slightly faster than the value of our housing stock.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let Us Please Not Kill the Messenger

We asked her to do what?


This lady was tasked with an almost impossible job, by the President and the Congress. She did a splendid job, dealing with the obvious and the unforeseen. 

From USA Today:
WASHINGTON -- In the end, Kathleen Sebelius was able to resign as secretary of Health and Human Services during a high point, when the administration had just announced that 7.5 million Americans had signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
But that moment came only after six months of battering and blame over the botched roll-out of the website. The enduring image of her five-year tenure as head of the huge agency is likely to be as the silver-haired woman sitting alone at a congressional hearing table, peering over reading glasses as she faced what often seemed to be an inquisition.

Some times Americans are just stupid.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Oh the Fed, the Fed...Proving the Sun Shines When It Is Light Outside

This is an amazing piece of wasted wonkiness from: 


David Neumark and Patrick Button

The Great Recession led to large increases in unemployment rates and unemployment durations for workers of all ages, but durations rose far more for older workers than for younger workers. This difference was apparent both during and after the recession, fueling speculation that age discrimination played a role. Research indicates that in states with stronger age discrimination protections, older-worker unemployment durations increased more relative to increases for younger workers. This suggests that state age discrimination laws may need to be modified to strengthen protections during downturns. 

Conclusion and interpretationThese results provide very little evidence that stronger state age discrimination protections helped older workers weather the Great Recession. In fact, the opposite may have occurred, with older workers bearing more of the brunt of the Great Recession in states with stronger age discrimination protections.

Hiring older workers=increased risk, so hiring them will be a marginal decision. This consigns older workers (as well as any demographic group that could potentially pose increased risk) to the back of the bus. Just not new news.

An Ugly Little Man in Cowboy Boots

Vox is better than Wonkblog ever was: beats Louisiana's government in billboard lawsuit

On Monday, a federal judge ruled that a billboard critical of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal can remain standing, despite the state government's attempts to have it taken down.

No News Here

From Vox and Brad Plumer:

Europe's honeybees are vanishing — and we still don't know why

"...the European Commission just published a massive new studytracking 32,000 honeybee colonies across 17 states — the largest-ever study on honeybees and the diseases that affect them...The EU study didn't figure out why the honeybees are dying...There's probably no one single explanation. As the 2013 report by the US government put it, "Consensus is building that a complex set of stressors and pathogens is associated with [colony collapse disorder]... This massive new study out of Europe is just a first step in getting a better handle on why the bees are vanishing..there are also reports that wild bees — which are also increasingly crucial for pollination — are in trouble, too. One recent report found that 31 of the 68 species of bumblebees in Europe are in decline, with 14 facing extinction..."

CCD took off in 2006. Now, eight years later, all we have are theories. We have come within a nano-second of being able to see the birth of the universe but we can't save the bees and, by extension, ourselves. 

More from Brad Plumer:
"The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that"out of some 100 crop species which provide 90% of food worldwide, 71 of these are bee-pollinated."
From the USDA:

Why Should the Public Care About What Happens to Honey Bees?
A honey bee, with pollen attached to its hind leg, pollinating a watermelon flower.Bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year. About one mouthful in three in our diet directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination. Commercial production of many specialty crops like almonds and other tree nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables are dependent on pollinated by honey bees. These are the foods that give our diet diversity, flavor, and nutrition.
Honey bees are not native to the New World; they came from Europe with the first settlers. There are native pollinators in the United States, but honey bees are more prolific and easier to manage on a commercial level for pollination of a wide variety of crops. Almonds, for example, are completely dependent on honey bees for pollination. In California, the almond industry requires the use of 1.4 million colonies of honey bees, approximately 60 percent of all managed honey bee colonies in the United States.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Got To Love Ezra Klein

How did he get so smart? Nate Silver eat your heart out. Ezra has a splendid article and interview with Yale Law professor Dan Kahan  out on VOX that deals with partisan thinking from a very different point of view.

How politics makes us stupid

But Kahan and his team had an alternative hypothesis. Perhaps people aren’t held back by a lack of knowledge. After all, they don’t typically doubt the findings of oceanographers or the existence of other galaxies. Perhaps there are some kinds of debates where people don’t want to find the right answer so much as they want to win the argument. Perhaps humans reason for purposes other than finding the truth — purposes like increasing their standing in their community, or ensuring they don’t piss off the leaders of their tribe.

Kahan calls this theory Identity-Protective Cognition: "As a way of avoiding dissonance and estrangement from valued groups, individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values." 

Kahan’s research tells us we can’t trust our own reason. How do we reason our way out of that?

Updated 4/8/2014 4:22p.

Paul Krugman has his take on Ezras Vox venture, and he don't say too much hateful about it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A New Low For the 1%

This article from CNN is difficult to read and even more difficult to comprehend, unless we believe in Paul Krugman and  his view that the GOP is a failing institution. How much deference can wealth really buy? We have become a pitiful nation when we don't, at the very least, put on a show of justice.

Is This the Face of America?

March 31 (UPI) -- The probationary sentence a Delaware judge gave a DuPont heir in 2009 for raping his young daughter [3 years old] has become an issue because his ex-wife has sued him. 
Robert H. Richards IV was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to fourth-degree rape. But Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden suspended the custodial sentence."Defendant will not fare well in Level 5 setting," Jurden wrote in her sentencing report, using the state's legal term for prison.
We may view the rich as models, but this type of behavior and outcome is becoming more common and is probably attributable to wealth rather than the possibility of rehabilitation. "A rich boy goes to college, a poor boy goes to war."