September 28, 2012


One pesky thing about predicting the future is eventually the future arrives.
During the summer of 2007 we had an unusually warm Northern Hemisphere combined with winds that caused a "record" low level of Arctic sea ice.  The alarmist seized on this and warned that soon the Arctic would be ice free.  National Geographic News famously predicted that we could see an ice free Arctic by the end of the summer 2012.  We had passed the "tipping point" and the "Arctic was screaming!".

Well guess what... its the end of the summer 2012 now!  So lets see if there is any ice:

Looks like we just squeaked by with over 1.5 million square miles of ice!

Now, to be fair, we did have another "record" low ice coverage this year.  We have had an unusually hot, dry summer.  The following chart shows that last 12 years of ice coverage.  You can see the previous low ice summer (2007) in black and this year in red.  However, if you begin to look at the pattern, you see it is more random than linear.  This is a common mistake people trying to predict the future make.  The see a trend, and then assume it will continue linearly into the future.  This almost never happens, especially with weather.  It is like seeing that February was warmer than January and March warmer than February, so assuming the earth will continue to warm and by December we will all be dead.

What is really funny, is if you follow the red line back, we had a short "record" high ice coverage at the end of April of this year!

Also, which is usual for nature, far from being in some tipping point, nature is always in a combination of multiple cycles, one balancing out the other.  So, while the Northern Hemisphere has seen warmer weather and less ice, the Southern Hemisphere has seen colder weather and more ice.
But you won't see that on the news!

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August 26, 2012


When people misquote or take out of context scripture to support their personal view, most are typically and rightfully angry.  The KKK claiming the Bible says whites are chosen over blacks, pastors demanding huge amounts of money with 50 fold "blessings" down the road, people claiming God doesn't want interracial marriage or God hates gays, etc.

So why do we allow the President to get away with it?

President Obama has repeatedly claimed Christianity teaches "I am my brothers keeper, I am my sisters keeper".  It does no such thing.  There is no reference to "sisters keeper" and the only reference to "brothers keeper" is after Cain kills Abel and is confronted by God, he says "Am I my brothers keeper?"  Hardly a Biblical commandment for Federal social programs.

Obama found another verse to butcher, again to argue the Bible is all about government taking from the rich and giving to the poor, and if we were good Christians we would vote for him and not that evil Republican:

“And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone.  And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.  But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.”  It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who’ve been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.”

First of all, Obama can "give something up" to help the poor any time he wants, it's called charitable GIVING!  The Bible is chock-full of wonderful verses and teachings about the blessings of giving to our fellow man and woman in need.  But that is not good enough for Obama, he has to find a quote that makes it sound like the rich are REQUIRED to give up their money.  And of course, not just give it directly to the poor, they must give it to the government, who then decides how to dish it out.
Unfortunately for Obama, this verse has nothing to do with money, it was pulled from the King James Version of Luke 12:48.  In this section, Jesus is teaching about being ready for the return of Christ.  He tells a parable of servants keeping the house while the master is away.  The servants who keep the house ready will please the master when he returns, while the servants who do not will be punished.  One of the disciples, Peter, asks if Jesus is just referring to them or to everyone.  Jesus' reply includes the verse Obama quoted,

The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Jesus is answering Paul's question here by saying: Yes, I am talking to everyone.  I expect everyone to be ready when I return.  But especially those of you who I have given much (knowledge of the truth, time, teaching, spiritual gifts), I expect even more from you and will be angrier with you if you are not ready.

Obama's attempt to turn this phrase into Biblical justification for his personal political views is every bit as insulting and pathetic as the KKK claiming the Bible justifies their views.

If Obama wanted to take a verse out of context, I wonder why he didn't use Matthew 25:28 "For whoever has, will be given more and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them."

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July 25, 2012


"One in 10 Americans still can't find work. That's why creating jobs has to be our number one priority" - President Obama 2010

Obama's words sound reassuring, but his actions speak louder. In the last 6 months, our President has attended 106 fundraisers, gone golfing 10 times, but hasn't met with his own "Jobs Council" even once!  It's almost as if jobs are not his number one priority...
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July 22, 2012


God created man to serve Him.  When man tries to have God serve himself, history is full of the resulting destruction.

Man created government to serve him.  When government tries to have man serve it, history is full of the resulting destruction.
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July 11, 2012


Eric Holder spoke in Texas to the NAACP yesterday, July 10. Part of his speech talked about the many states that are passing voting ID laws and how his Justice Department are blocking them because of harm to minorities:
And, as many of you know, yesterday was the first day of trial in a case that the State of Texas filed against the Justice Department, under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, seeking approval of its proposed voter ID law. After close review, the Department found that this law would be harmful to minority voters – and we rejected its implementation... Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them – and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them.
Here is the invite to the speech:

So its ok to check ID's for a speech, but to elect our leaders its harmful!
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July 9, 2012


This seems so simple to me. These are basic laws of economics. But somehow politicians have convinced the majority of people that these laws don't exist. Just give them the power and they can make it all better.
I wish everyone would read this article... several times if needed:

There is far too much info in this to do justice with quotes, but here are a few:

This simple idea—that voluntary exchange is mutually beneficial—is at the heart of modern economics.
Indeed, a national economy, with all its sophistication and complexity, is simply a very large number of mutually beneficial trades. And a recession is nothing more than a collapse in the number of such trades. Moreover, as individuals expand the number of people with whom they exchange, they are able to consume a wider diversity of products while becoming more specialized in production. Specialized production, in turn, permits greater productive efficiency and allows us to do more with less. It is no exaggeration to say that the expansion of mutually beneficial exchange accounts for the lion’s share of human progress.
Think of the thousands of talented lawyers, lobbyists, and strategic thinkers who occupy the expensive office buildings lining K Street in Washington, D.C. All of this talent might be employed in the discovery of new ways to bring value to consumers and to expand the gains from exchange. Instead, many of these smart and hardworking people spend their time convincing politicians to hand out privileges to their own firms or fending off attempts to hand out privileges to their competitors
Privilege can also have a profoundly negative effect on innovation. And a lack of innovation, in turn, can disadvantage an entire society.
In a classic, sweeping study, economist Mancur Olson went so far as to claim that special-interest privilege can account for the “rise and decline of nations.” As societies grow wealthy and stable, he argued, the seeds of their own destruction are sewn. Stable societies are fertile ground for special interests. These interest groups grow in power and influence over time, and once entrenched, rarely disappear. “On balance,” they “reduce efficiency and aggregate income in the societies in which they operate and make political life more divisive.” Eventually, “The accumulation of distributional coalitions [those that seek rents] increases the complexity of regulation, the role of government, and the complexity of understandings, and changes the direction of social evolution.
But we need not look so far for examples. Atif Mian of the University of California at Berkeley and Amir Sufi and Francesco Trebbi of the University of Chicago recently conducted an extensive examination of the political activity of the U.S. mortgage industry and housing interests in the run-up to the subprime meltdown of 2008.101 The authors found, “Beginning in 2002, mortgage industry campaign contributions increasingly targeted U.S. representatives from districts with a large fraction of subprime borrowers.” Analyzing more than 700 votes related to housing, the authors found that these contributions became an increasingly strong predictor of congressional votes. They also found that the share of constituents with low credit scores exerted increasing influence over voting patterns. Thus, “Pressure on the U.S. government to expand subprime credit came from both mortgage lenders and subprime borrowers.”102 Indeed, a slew of policies encouraged the expansion of credit in the subprime market. These policies, of course, benefited the privileged firms as well as the privileged subprime borrowers. But they also fanned the flames of an overheating housing market. For nearly a decade, capital and labor poured into housing and related industries, and when the bubble eventually burst, it threw the United States into its worst recession in decades.
As often happens with privilege, the “solution” to this problem involved more privilege.
Government-granted privileges are pathological. Privileges limit the prospects for mutually beneficial exchange—the very essence of economic progress. They raise prices, lower quality, and discourage innovation. They pad the pockets of the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of the poor and unknown. When governments dispense privileges, smart, hardworking, and creative people are encouraged to spend their time devising new ways to obtain favors instead of new ways to create value for customers. Privileges depress long-run economic growth and threaten short-run macroeconomic stability. They even undermine cultural mores, fostering cronyism, blurring the distinction between productive and unproductive entrepreneurship, and eroding people’s trust in both business and government.

Want to understand how our economy is supposed to work on a simple basic level? 
Read Section I
Want to understand the various ways this can be perverted? 
Read section II
Want to understand why I'm against "over regulation"? 
Read Sec II B
Want to know why conservatives are all bent out of shape about Solyndra? 
Read Sec II D
Want to understand why we need simple, fair, flat taxes? 
Read Sec II E
Want to know why the Government is ALWAYS slower, more expensive and less innovative? 
Read Sec III B and C
Want to get "money out of politics"?  Tired of companies "buying lawmakers"? 
Read Sec III D
Want to understand why people's approval of Government is at an all time low? 
Read Sec III J&K

I. The Gains from Exchange
     A. Monopoly Privilege
     B. Regulatory Privilege
     C. Subsidies
     D. Loan Guarantees
     E. Tax Privileges
     F. Bailouts
     G. Expected Bailouts
     H. Tariffs and Quotas on Foreign Competition
     I. Noncompetitive Bidding
     A. Monopoly Costs
     B. Productive Inefficiencies
     C. Inattention to Consumer Desires
     D. Rent-Seeking
     E. Distributional Effects
     F. Unproductive Entrepreneurship
     G. Loss of Innovation and Diminished Long-Run Economic Growth
     H. Macroeconomic Instability
     I. Cronyism
     J. Diminished Legitimacy of Government and Business
     K. Lost Social Trust
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The new energy boom is beginning to explode.  But it is not solar, wind or batteries.  It's oil and gas.  With the new technologies in drilling techniques and hydraulic fracturing, the once "too expensive to recover" oil is now "too valuable to ignore".  And it is very good for Americans!
America (and Canada) are sitting on the world's largest reserves in known oil tar sands, oil shale and fracture required naturals gas!
The two biggest winners look to be Canada and the United States. Canada, with something like two trillion barrels worth of conventional oil in its tar sands, and the United States with about a trillion barrels of shale oil, are the planet’s new super giant energy powers. Throw in natural gas and coal, and the United States is better supplied with fossil fuels than any other country on earth. Canada and the United States are each richer in oil than Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia combined.
I predict within the next 20 years, we will be the Saudi Arabia and Iran of the world in terms of cheap reliable energy production.

Oh yeah, the next time you hear Obama (or environmentalists) claim we have 2% of the worlds oil reserves but use 20% of the oil.  It's what is known as a .... LIE.
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July 8, 2012


My first attempt at a political cartoon.  Taken from one of my favorite books.

Yes, on the surface it's a simple dig at Big Government.  But, I like the deeper philosophical questions it raises.  What does it mean to be a parent, just lay the egg?  Is government really supporting people if it doesn’t even know who they are?  What are the proper boundaries between family and government, are they being crossed, why?  Is the baby bird’s final question fair?

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July 6, 2012


Myth: "God helps those that help themselves."

Somewhere between 70-80% of Americans believe the Bible teaches this, including Christians. This phrase is found nowhere in the Bible and actually is opposite to the teaching of God's Grace (undeserved favor).

Similar themes of this phrase originated in Greece, including one of the Fables of Hercules. The English political theorist Algernon Sidne...y originated the exact version we hear today. Benjamin Franklin also used it in his almanac in 1736 and has been widely quoted. As a deist, Franklin believed in God but that God did not intervene in earth's affairs, so all responsibility was incumbent upon people.

While self initiative is a great thing, don't make yourself sound ignorant by attributing this phrase to God's Word.
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April 2, 2012


My trip down the Enoree River with my wife:
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March 11, 2012


It's time we stop judging based on the good intentions of the politicians. Results do matter. The results after spending almost a Trillion dollars on "jobs" are awful. Any business person in the world would be fired. Why are politicians immune?
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March 7, 2012


We asked to move Cacey into advanced classes for next year, this is the response from the teacher:
Cacey only missed the cut on his MAP scores by 3 pts. I think he will do just fine in Advanced. I'll fill out the form and have him sign it. Then I'll put it in guidance. You need to come in … to meet with a counselor and sign it. I'm glad you're moving him up. He needs the challenge and definitely can do it. I just couldn't do it because of the requirements.

So the teacher thinks a kid should be in a certain class, but can’t do it because the government test says he can’t. The parent and the teacher have to sign forms, then meet with councilors and sign forms, then the forms get scurried away to the ivory towers where education bureaucrats give them the official approval.

The purpose of MAP from the website states, “MAP, or the Measure of Academic Progress, is a computerized adaptive test which helps teachers, parents, and administrators improve learning for all students and make informed decisions to promote a child's academic growth.”

Looks like, as usual, the result is not as intended. Instead of helping improve learning and make informed decisions, it forces kids into boxes and removes all decision making ability. We don’t need more education money… we need more education freedom!

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February 18, 2012


A look at the following chart and this CBO report:

The baby boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) are expected to have a significant affect on the participation rate in the decades to come.

“During the decades to come, one such development is expected to be a slower rate of growth of the labor force relative to the average growth rate of the past few decades. That slowdown is anticipated to occur primarily because of the aging and retirement of large numbers of baby boomers and because women’s participation in the labor force has leveled off since the late 1990s after having risen substantially throughout the three decades before that.”
However, they are not a large impact right now, for even the oldest of the baby boom generation are just reaching retirement age. The average is at the peak of their careers, in their mid/late 50’s. Those that are retiring early could be 1) well off and able to 2) given early retirement packages due to the bad economy as my company has done or 3) lost their job and on benefits that will permanently move them out of the job market. The poor economy is certainly a driving factor of our current depressed labor participation rate:

“The downward trend since 2000 can be attributed largely to the aging and retirement of the baby boomers. It also reflects a leveling off in participation among women between the ages of 25 and 54—who are no longer participating at higher rates than their predecessors did at the same age—and a pronounced decline in participation among people under 25. Participation has fallen even further since mid-2008, as a lack of job opportunities has caused many people to withdraw from or to remain out of the labor force.”
So how do we know how much? Is the current drop in the labor force just demographics or the economy or other factors? The CBO tries to answer that:

“The effect of demographics on the overall participation rate can be calculated by holding group-specific participation constant at 2007 (prerecession) rates but allowing population shares to adjust in line with CBO’s projections. CBO estimates that the demographic effect has already reduced the overall rate of participation by about 0.5 percentage points since 2007”
So, the aging baby boomers and other demographic affects have reduced the participation rate by 0.5% from 2007. The participation rate has dropped by 2.2% from that time. That is 1.7% or 5.3 million people that left the job market for economic or other reasons.
So is the economy bad and causing people to stop looking for work, or it is roaring back due to Obama’s policies and he just needs more time? The CBO has more to say.

“Two factors are especially important to the current projections of participation in the labor force. The first is near-term economic conditions. Because of the weakened state of the economy, the labor force is currently well below its potential size.”

“In late 2010, the unemployment rate averaged 9.6 percent, more than 4 percentage points above CBO’s estimate of the long-term natural rate. Accordingly, labor force participation has fallen significantly below its trend rate, as some workers (especially men between the ages of 25 and 54) have withdrawn from the labor force in the face of a poor job market and others (especially teens) have refrained from entering. By the final quarter of 2010, the actual labor force participation rate—64.4 percent—was more than a full percentage point below the potential participation rate as estimated by CBO. It also was lower than what would have been expected on the basis of the historical relationship between the labor force participation rate and the unemployment rate.”

“On balance, the recession has a modest downward influence on the participation rate projected for the 2016–2021 period, principally because some men in their 50s who have become unemployed or have left the labor force as a consequence of the recession are not expected to return to the labor force.”

“CBO’s labor force projections reflect the influence of public policies, especially those that involve taxes on labor or that directly affect the incentive to work in some other way”… “CBO estimates that scheduled changes in policies relative to the policies that were in effect in 2010 will reduce the labor force participation rate in 2021 by about 0.9 percentage points, thus reducing the size of the labor force by slightly more than 2 million people.”…“Specifically, changes in the tax code that are scheduled under current law will increase marginal tax rates on labor income (the tax rates applied to the last dollar earned) during the coming decade and, in CBO’s estimation, reduce labor force participation.”

I am certainly not blaming Obama for all our problems. But if he is going to run around trumpeting a drop in U3 unemployment as proof that is policies are working. We should at least look at how much those policies are costing, what is happening to the labor force and are there other factors involved. That is what I am trying to do. Of course my chart is biased, and zoomed in to the most convenient scale factors, and only puts selected information on it. All data can be manipulated to say what you want. I just wish more people were as critical of the “official” data as they are of those on the opposite political aisle.

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