Good Signs?

Yesterday there was a report on jobs and employment in the United States. And the news was good. In fact, the news was better than anybody expected! Unemployment is at a 7 year low. The economy is not just showing signs of growth, but robust economic growth.

Nor was this “growth only an economist could love.” Many things I’ve been harping on for years got better: wages grew faster than inflation; more people are working; there’s growth in more areas; more people are working full time! I’m not ready to say yet that the economy is all healed up — I know too many people who are unemployed or underemployed — but I’m willing to say that the light at the end of the tunnel is probably not a train.

Now all the Very Smart People are talking about how the Fed will now have an excuse to raise the interest rates banks charge one another when they meet next month. Some are saying that’s a bad thing. However, I think it’s long overdue.



Apparently, former Fed chief Ben Bernanke has a new book about how he saved Christmas the economy. That means a bunch of econ bloggers and Serious People have to say something about it. The NYT Sunday Book Review likes it, although they called it “a bit of a slog.” You can buy your own copy here.

In Closing: least of our worries; unfortunately I don’t see a way to solve this problem; I bet we laugh at this fashion trend a decade from now; yeah that’s a problem; breaking the rules; maybe you could have educated the patient up front?; and voting.

Shorties Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Hope everyone had a safe Halloween. Happy All Saints Day.

Dave Johnson Telling the Truth: on the economy; on secret trade deals.

Enough to drive you crazy: Meat is bad for you, unless it isn’t; calories are the only thing that matter, but what the study says depends on who is reporting. The researchers concluded “When compared with dietary interventions of similar intensity, evidence from RCTs does not support low-fat diets over other dietary interventions for long-term weight loss.”

Unlikely source: The Economist isn’t where you would expect to find a report on a new canid species.

All Asking For It: On average, police in America killed 3 people every day of October. ThinkProgress has some highlights of police brutality.

Damned Liberal Media: with their facts and bias.

Pretty In Pink: Even the editors of the Las Vegas Sun noticed the pinkwashing of girls Halloween costumes and toys, publishing this NYT article.

TIL: Some cultures have a “Toilet God.”

Gilligan!: 22 shipwrecks found off the archipelago of Fourni.

See everyone tomorrow for some Music Monday!

Tilting at Windmills

Today’s 2016 Election news — and remember, despite the clown car of candidates, the actual election is still over a year away — is perhaps the only time that Jim Webb will be the top story. He’s dropping out of the race. The next part is just bizarre. Reuters put this best:

Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb said on Tuesday he will drop his long-shot bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and explore an independent run for the White House.

Yeah. Low in the polls, but he claims that’s because Anderson Cooper is a big meanie who let Hillary talk twice as long as him. So even though by his own admission independents don’t win, he thinks he’s got a shot.

Maybe he should invest in lottery tickets instead. They’re a better bet.

In Closing: Love this guy’s art; it’s in the stars; Bronies are now apparently a subject of scholarly research; at the very least, taxpayers should not be funding unsafe activities for children; I still think PreCheck is a bad idea if the TSA is really trying to stop terrorists (and a brilliant one if they are really trying to control the masses); on the economy; oops! and pizza alternatives — most can be made vegetarian, a few can probably be done vegan, some can be done gluten free.

A Whole Weeks Worth of Economy in One Post!

So USA Today has helpful hints for people of my generation towards saving for retirement. Unfortunately they forgot Step 0: have a job with a retirement plan and that pays well enough that you can actually save money.

So then, about jobs. Earlier this week, the jobs report came out. The good news is that there are more jobs. They’re even paying a bit more — by a whole $0.05 per hour (don’t spend it all in one place, kids). Yet still, unemployment claims are up and Very Serious People are speculating about plateaued progress and  The Next Recession.

Just maybe that’s why consumer spending and factory orders are down.

Even so, I am NOT among those calling for the Fed to avoid raising interest rates. For one thing, the Fed doesn’t have as much control as many people think. Second, the last several years should have proven that the interest rates banks charge one another really doesn’t have much to do with whether or not your boss gives you a raise. Third, I’ve been saying for a decade now that super low interest rates don’t actually stimulate the economy. Yeah, we’ve had super low interest rates for a decade now. Maybe if interest rates went up, corporations would spend some of their cash.

Of course, if you are very wealthy, the economy looks just great. Remember that when you listen to the 2-ring circus we’re calling “2016 presidential candidates.”

In Closing: Warren Buffet has single handedly prevented many unwanted pregnancies (and probably a few cases of cancer); The TPP is on life support, but still out there and it still is a no good very bad thing for average people; ain’t nobody but spies like us; more studies tell us the same damn thing; I am still not sure why anybody ever thought this was a good idea; to hell with the H-1B program.

Just a little JEB! Roundup.

So everybody knows now that JEB! Bush has said some, ahem, ill advised things about worker productivity, right? By now pretty much everybody who isn’t huddled up on the far ultraright end of the spectrum with Donald Trump’s hair has weighed in. Here’s an economist, twice, a CNBC commentator (you know, where people talk about business?), a Moderate, and more smart people. By morning, there are likely to be more people saying similar things.

Of course I guess it doesn’t really much matter which party your Wall Street lackeys belong to.

In Closing: Pow Pao!; evidence that we mostly need better enforcement of gun laws; rich people habits you can (mostly) do too; the IRS will never ever call you to say you owe money; Sure they did (and I totally thwarted 3 tiger attacks last weekend — hey, you didn’t hear about any tiger attacks in Vegas last weekend, now did you??); trade deficit; “lemme take a selfie“; bad charting; Disney Princes.

Bonus Music: Funky!

More here. I particularly like the fact that this wasn’t just a production of the dance team and assorted Pretty People. Yeah, even a Fort Worth girl can appreciate what they did in Dallas.

In Closing: Yay, we’re last; scarfgate debunked; not a fan of Obamacare, but I did come out ahead; all those poor people taking advantage of the law!; not sure what to say; yeah; on moral agency.

Sign of the Times

IMG_20140716_102931 (1)

“Vintage Antiques? Well, honestly I was hoping you had some brand new antiques!”

In Closing: sick and tired; CISPA is back from the dead; “Lack of exercise responsible for twice as many early deaths as obesity”; ok ok, we’ll tell you what the NSA is doing, but we aren’t planning on stopping; institutional sexism; a third of Americans think cops are liars; Target pulling out of Canada; on a living wage.

Exercise is a Good Habit too

Did you know that regular exercise is associated with a lower risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and being overweight? You probably did. Did you also know it can prevent bone loss as you get older? Maybe you just don’t know how to get started without spending a lot of money on one of those exercise programs advertised on late night television.

Well, thank heaven that Google turns up a lot of good places you can start without necessarily buying a gym membership or some expensive videos. Just remember: whatever you do, keep doing something. Remember that this is a habit that’s going to take some time to do right (and even longer if you do it wrong). But all the research says it’s worth it.

Edit: Yet another study says exercise is good for you. Of course, If you started printing out these studies, you might go broke just buying paper.

In Closing: Ted is right; Schneier on doxing; sounds good to me; Mrs. Quimby would probably be in big trouble; the answer is blowing in the wind (and the sun too).