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.

Out of the Shorties

Tama: Stationmaster Tama has passed away; she is survived by her assistant Nitama.  She has been celebrated by pretty much the entire town.

It’s good to be the King CEO: Their wages have gone up, while those of the worker have not.

Another Brick in the Wall: Maybe what we need is a different kind of education.

Top People: Thanks to Ira for this link to the Treasures of the United States Army.

On Identity Theft: Protect yourself. And don’t use “password” as a password.

What do you mean you aren’t ready for Hillary?: No, I will never be ready for Hillary, thanks for asking.

And Finally: A Lifetime Movie I’d like to see.

Privacy? Oh, were you using that?

The incident in Paris is already being used as an excuse to take away what little privacy (and other rights) remain in the world, despite the fact that privacy is a necessary feature of security. In the meantime, bulk data will continue to be collected by both the government and various corporations (who of course, can sell that information to the government without anybody having technically violated the 4th or 5th Amendments). Nor is the NSA the only agency collecting information; the DEA is doing it too. Are they at least sharing nicely, or are We The Taxpayers paying to collect all this stuff twice?

Now, don’t forget for one minute that the President is proposing laws that crack down on “hackers”. Those laws would make a dizzying array of normal and sometimes necessary activities illegal. That’s on top of the undead CISPA cyber”security” bill. Oh yeah, and that nasty old TPP that would make corporate rights more important that national rights.

At what point does Joe Average get fed up? Congress is doing the opposite of what he wants almost every chance they get. And thanks to rigged Congressional districts, all of our political voices are diluted. Further even though the amount of money made in our nation per person is near a record high, Joe Average has very little to show for it. What happens now?

In Closing: why you can’t have hot and cold running municipal internet; misinformation; how dare you be a crime victim; brother, can you spare a bridge; some of us would like our sons to know this stuff too; backfire; denial; take the money and run.


Music Monday: Thanks, Johnny

Ladies and Gentlemen, Johnny Cash:


In Closing: moving; a few diet items; I’m not sure how this works (except Obama is black and therefore any race issues are his fault?); as long as we’re on the topic of the President, a couple immigration items; life chances; it’s good to be king CEO; not so good to be an average worker; even worse to be in prison; but hey at least if you’re in prison you’re alive.

A Legitimate Question


Ok, good for the NFL deciding that beating the **** out of your wife or girlfriend is a bad thing.

But in the interest of fairness, why not suspend any player facing felony charges until everything is settled in the courts? After all, Joe Average would probably lose their job (mostly because of the inability to post bail).

In Closing: Nothing today but poverty in our mediocre economy, and spying on Americans (and others).

Oh, make up your mind already!

Oh no! The Millennials can’t afford to buy houses!

Oh yeah! The Millennials will soon be buying houses!

Oh wait! It turns out that when we say the Millennials are living at home with their parents, we meant they were living in dorms!

Oh heck! The unemployment rate among Millennials is 40% — and that’s people who are actually looking for jobs (rather than going to school and living in the dorms)! I guess cancel that house-buying boom.

Meanwhile, despite AP propaganda telling us how wonderful the economy is, we have millions of people who need some form of government aid (sure, Fox News, blame the people instead of the reality they live in) and a big problem in how our “great” economy is paying for itself. The disconnect between the economy as seen from the top and as seen from anyplace up can be seen in this graph, meant to demonstrate the difference between “average” and “median” net worth. I guess that’s how we ended up with a couple millionaires arguing about which one is poorer.

I wonder how long we can keep going like this.

In Closing: your regular shot of NSA and privacy related stories; speaking of guys I’m surprised are still alive, Ahmed Chalabi; a modern sin; not sure what I think of this; and how the Dow works.

Let the Right Shorties In


Happy Friday the Thirteenth, and Happy Honey Moon.

NSA: Aw, you know I can’t possibly go more than a few days without coming up with some NSA, spying on Americans, War on Terror,or Privacy right? Heck, they may actually have to do things the legal way.

We Don’t Need No Education: Maybe. Unless of course we do.

It’s good to be the king: Or even just the CEO. Not so good to be a serf, but that’s “same as it ever was.”

Election Follies: So much to ridicule, so little time. At least the Chicken Lady lost her bid to be a candidate for Lieutenant Governor in Nevada.

Is anyone in their right mind surprised?: The DEA is playing hard ball with docs who associate themselves with medical marijuana. This is why Nevada doesn’t require a prescription. Remember: pot is still illegal under Federal law, and when all is said and done the Civil War established that Federal law will always trump state law (in that case, the state laws that said people could own other people).

Times haven’t changed: Perception has.

Maya: Zen Pencils.

And Finally: Purple Toes. More.

Yo, Brian Williams “Raps”


In Closing: Ok, we got us a whole bunch of NSA stuff, including some items courtesy of Comrade Misfit; college graduation season is a nice time for life lessons, such as “it’s a bad idea to hide the fact that you’ve dropped out, and a worse idea to hide that fact by calling in a bomb threat to graduation”; the American worker is still screwed, more so if they are of color, and that’s partly because certain people in government thought it was more important to bail out the banks and businesses; I don’t even know what to make of this (EDIT!!); read the labels, people; oops, maybe appealing to science was a bad idea; I clearly don’t link Dave Johnson enough; the real reason for the War on Teachers?; introducing Naia; and Godzilla is growing.

Paranormal Activities: The Marked Shorties

Happy March! Let’s get started….

Student Loans: Officially dragging down the economy.

I think I have a way to increase consumer spending: This is crazy talk I know, but if the minimum wage were higher, people who make minimum wage could afford to buy stuff.

And the Supreme Court makes it worse: Now the government can effectively prevent accused criminals from hiring an effective defense team by confiscating all their assets, making “innocent until proven guilty” potentially a cruel joke.

When even the IMF disagrees with American tax policy: Yeah, they think the rich need to be taxed more. That trickle down thing? Doesn’t work.

Rules: “Planned food safety rules rile organic farmers“.

Price Fixing: Gold is a market controlled by a handful of banks.

5 Surprising Discoveries: here.

On those new nutrition labels: of course there’s still a 20% margin of error.

Treat someone like a rat and they’ll act like one?: Rat Park (h/t).

Blast from the past: The old Fiat factory.

Plagued with too much money?: Buy a private island!

Interesting point: Cats.

And Finally: I’m sorry, some stuff you just can’t make up. And just wait until you hear the reason this news station can’t air the footage they have.

Shorties’ Due

Enjoy some pre-SOTU appetizers.

Keeping an eye on us all: So, here’s the latest links on the NSA, privacy, spying, Snowden, the legality of anything the NSA is up to, and related issues. This just keeps getting messier.

No, the fact that it’s cold outside does not prove that global warming is a hoax: seriously, people.

Check the weather anyway, I think hell froze over: Ben Stein veers away from the party line and says that if the national debt is a problem, higher taxes is the answer.

Stuck in [what’s left of] the middle: on income inequality, the middle class, and related issues.

Afghanistan: I guess there will be no true peace unless everyone agrees to it.

Uh, what?: Some public school in Louisiana thinks that they are a Christian school, apparently. And the sad part is that they will “blame” the non-Christian family for making them teach in accordance with the First Amendment and the Law.

More relevant than he thinks: Religious extremism is dangerous, no matter what the religion is. See also, last two paragraphs.

Same as it ever was: Americans are not happy with their government. However, don’t expect anybody to “vote the bums out” anytime soon.

What, you want accurate facts too??: Rand Paul.

Anti-Abortion and Pro-Life are different things: Amen to that.

Why?: Why, exactly, was personal information about 74,000 on a laptop computer for any reason?

And finally: Budget Bourbon. My current brand of choice is represented, so I may yet try the others.