Straight Shooter

Or, “Oh Nicky”

This brave dog is Nicky. Nicky was shot and killed in the line of duty here in Las Vegas. This made the national news. So a few days went by, and some people started to wonder how come the criminal hadn’t been charged with capital murder of a police officer (I don’t know if K-9 units count, but I did hear some people ask), or even animal cruelty. It turns out that the shot was fired by a cop: Nicky was killed by “friendly fire.”

Now, when I heard that I was even more sad. But I also remembered this old post from 6 years ago.  It took 7 cops 81 shots to kill one bad guy? I really don’t have a problem with cops shooting bad guys now and again, but they should actually hit what they fire at!

Just maybe Vegas cops need to spend some time on the freaking firing range learning to hit their targets.

In Closing: Lawmakers are really trying to make encryption worthless (thus killing the tech industry in America, promoting identity theft and other cybercrimes, and not really doing jack about terrorists); Google doesn’t trust anybody; the sad truth about all those jobs being created; the neighborhood you live in influences how much activity you get; and sugar.


Just Keep Squeezing.

Yeah, just keep squeezing the American people.

Keep spying on them while pretending it’s for their own good — does anybody think they will stop just because a judge said so?

Keep saying that if you have a bad job it’s your own damn fault, so shut up and eat your crap wages and your crap hours that make it impossible to do anything to improve your lot.

Keep saying that free trade agreements are always good and always create jobs despite evidence to the contrary, and how dare you want to know what’s actually in the free trade agreement. You’re just wrong!

Keep blaming the “other,” whether that means Jews or Homosexuals or “Thugs” or “immigrantsor whoever for the things that are wrong.

Just don’t be surprised if the kettle boils over.

In Closing: as we said in grade school, “no duh“; wonder how many years that path will take to trudge.

Well, isn’t this interesting

In California, one out of every ten workers is here illegally. Most of them have lived here for years and live with an American citizen.

Yesterday’s protests seeking an actual living wage for fast food workers resulted in arrests — and remember, if you eat lunch at these places you need to be served by an adult rather than a kid who will someday get a “real job”.

Meanwhile, normal citizens are pressured by low wages, competition from workers here illegally, and are further oppressed by a criminal “justicesystem that is pretty much out of control.

The “powers that be” better tread lightly.

In Closing: Driving “American” might mean buying a “Japanese” car; I bet when they say “diversity” they aren’t really including the ~1 in 5 American women for whom “petite” pants drag the ground; Nudies and the NSA.


So, another jobs report came out today. Now, remember that economists believe it takes 150-200k new jobs gained each month to keep up with new people entering the workforce. Obviously that’s an average, and also obviously June is one of those months that a disproportionate number of people get out of school and start looking for jobs. Keep that in the back of your head, even though it’s not going to get mentioned elsewhere.

In June, the United States added 288,000 jobs, roughly 10% of which were government jobs. Unemployment is down to a mere 6.1% nationally. And there’s more good news hidden behind the headline: average manufacturing workweek is above 40 hours, so theoretically factories need more workers now; long term unemployed is down to [a still depressing] ~3,100,000.

Of course there’s bad news hidden too: average workweek overall was 34.5 hours; wages aren’t up; when you include the underemployed and discouraged workers, unemployment looks more like 12.1%. Think about that: just under of 1 in 8 workers is either working part time when they want full time work, or has given up on finding work at all!

As a guy with more expertise than me summarized, it’s “meh.” Or perhaps you prefer the more technical “yawn.”

Nevertheless, Wall Street went WHEEEEE! on anticipation that the Fed might actually raise interest rates.

Oh, and it turns out that the states with the most job growth are the ones with those “job killing” higher minimum wages.


In Closing: Oh yeah, get those sweet sweet NSA and spying on Americans and the world links here; free science books; birth control Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling follow up links; problem solved!; media points out what many of us have been saying for years; apparently I’m the only one surprised that Maliki is alive and actually in charge of anything; when a red cross blanket on a gym floor is soooo much better than home [insert sad face here]; for pity sake, use seat belts and make sure the kids buckle up too; and then they wonder why the locals are pissed at them.

Only Shorties Left Alive

Ok, I know why some of you are here: to get your sweet sweet dose of NSA links.

Turns out not: There’s no shortage of STEM workers. There may, however, be a shortage of STEM workers who want to work for crappy wages.

Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me: Which of these inventions is likely to be fake? Two teenage girls invent new bomb detector that could revolutionize getting around their home town, teenage boy makes browser plugin that allows you to see who a politician’s major contributors are with a simple mouse-over, or Egyptian military invents a gadget that can detect AIDS and Hepatitis C without taking blood samples? Regrettably, I cannot promise that Carl Kassel will record your voicemail message.

Sick of Politics and November is So Far Away: Pelosi thinks immigration reform is now a longshot (because hey, we can’t have a Democratic Kenyan President signing that into law or something). Republicans don’t like it when President Obama does things that President Bush and President Reagan did frequently. Maybe Senator McCain shouldn’t talk about ISIS anymore. And the Koch agenda.

A Couple Items on Abortion: Southern Beale points out that abortion restrictions don’t keep women from getting abortions, just from getting safe ones. And someone I’ve not had the chance to link to in a long time, MahaBarbara on “What If Banks, Not Abortion Clinics, Needed Buffer Zones?”

Have you ever wondered what these signs mean?: In short, the higher the number, the more dangerous it could be.

I’ve said it before: In areas where schools push the high school start time back, student traffic accidents dropped 70%. Oh yeah, and their grades improved.

Have you read this one yet?: It’s been making the rounds, just want to make sure everybody’s seen it.

And finally: A gun safety ad that doesn’t involve a made up tragedy.

Another Month, Another Jobs Report

Good news everyone!

Employment is at an all time high. There’s 217,000 more jobs than last month, and we finally have more people working than at the start of the Great Recession.

Ok, now for why that isn’t really very good news at all. Good jobs went away only to be replaced by crappy ones with low wages and low/no benefits. This is double true if you happen to be a man. And the number of people who are not in the labor market but now want a job is up 292,000 this month (for the math impaired, 292,000 is greater than 217,000). And we still have businessmen arguing with a straight face that it would be bad for business to pay sick workers to stay home 3 days a year rather than have them come to work and share their illness with coworkers and customers.

No wonder the majority of Americans think that the “American Dream” is out of reach.

In Closing: Got a whole heaping helping of random NSA, Snowden, privacy, secrecy, spying, terrorism, and related links; people hate the cable company, love cute kittens, film at 11; a couple of gun links; turns out the stoner was actually drunk, but that doesn’t make for a good pot-is-bad story; breakin the law; careful what you post on Facebook; eggs; for a movement that calls itself “men’s rights“, they spend a lot of time worrying about women (yeah, pretty sad that’s Cracked pointing it out too); young adult literature; and social media.

Shorties of Chuckie

Ok, let’s start with the NSA data dump: boy howdy and I do mean dump. Big mean dookie here and the administration keeps adding to the pile. Advice to the White House: sunlight is a good disinfectant.

On Republicans: And a possible shutdown of the government (because that worked out so well for the Republicans during the Clinton Administration). But remember, they know better than 97% of scientists about climate change (and for those who are religious? Rush is wrong and if Jesus does come back he’s gonna be honked about what we’ve done with the planet). Oh, and alert the media, I agree with Roger Simon.

On Computer Literacy: Most people aren’t. Even those kids we think are so much better on the computer than their elders. At least many of the elders are aware of the things they don’t know.

An Accidental Invention: The teabag.

On the Labor Force: There is no labor shortage, duh. Alien workers — including the undocumented ones — are sought after because they are easily exploited. Interns are free labor (which means it can be a challenge for young workers to accept the so-called opportunity unless Mummy and Daddy pony up cash). Modern Capitalism looks a whole lot like Feudalism.

Real Life MacGyver: Snakes on a Catapult and 9 other great tricks.

The Truth about Eyeglasses: pupillary distance, and adjusting your frames.

Petroglyphs: Over 10,000 years old.

On a Happier Note: Steinway sold for $512,000,000. Interestingly enough, the C above Middle C should be tuned to 512 hertz.

No Credit isn’t Bad Credit: the unscoreables.

Accurate Title: Yes, Vaccinations Save Lives.

I Question Their Criteria:’s list of “best” cars for short drivers doesn’t even mention adjustable belt points and properly proportioned seats.

Hmmm: Childhood obesity linked to school lunches and TV watching.

Scientists having a pissing contest: On de-extinction.

And finally: Goodnight iPad.

Music Monday: The Boss Has Spoken

Ladies and gentlemen, the unvarnished truth:


The economy is crap unless you are ridiculously wealthy. And even then, you might have the sense that something is amiss. It is no longer possible to just work a little harder and get out of this mess. Four out of five Americans “struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives.” An alarming number of families spend over half their income on housing, with many still paying far too much on property that will never be worth what is owed — property that traps them in places where jobs might not exist. And that’s before I get to 35 facts that should scare Baby Boomers.

Follow up: Be careful hiking in areas that have recently experienced forest fires.

In Closing: on human trafficking; seriously??; some more stuff on the NSA (contact your Congressmouse and Senatwhores and remind them that you vote); MSRA; don’t say stupid stuff in job interviews; and Farewell Lindy.

Another Month, Another Mediocre Jobs Report

Sadly, I’ve written on this topic many times over the last 10 years. This time it’s the June employment report. I’ll let Bill McBride summarize it for you:

The good news: This was the best first half for private employment gains since 1999.  Also hourly and weekly wages increased 0.4% in June, and hourly wages are now up 2.2% over the last year (weekly wages are up 2.5% year-over-year).

Some bad news: the employment-population ratio for the 25 to 54 year old group (prime working age) declined, the number of part time workers (for economic reasons) increased and U-6 (an alternative measure of labor underutilization) increased to 14.3%.

Be sure to scroll down for The Scary Chart showing that there are still 2% fewer jobs than there were at the beginning of the Great Recession. At least — theoretically — there may have been enough jobs created to absorb the new people in the workplace. Or rather, there would have been if it hadn’t been June, a month when both high school and college graduations occur.

So let’s dig into the bad news. A lot of people are working part time because that’s the best they can do right now. Some employers think they are getting around benefits such as health care costs doing this, but the fact is that if the economy ever really recovers, workers will demand little things like full time work at decent wages with benefits.

Many of those workers are also in low wage jobs — or worse yet, temporary jobs that might vanish next month. It’s dishonest to say a job was “created” if it’s not worth actually hiring someone to do it. These are the kind of jobs where they can get away with giving workers a debit card instead of a paycheck, because they know the worker has no choice but to suck it up.

Now, I’m hesitant to bring up this story, but it seems that some “Doctors” licensed in other countries are having a hard time getting licensed here. I’m finding it difficult to swallow the idea that our standards are just too high for typical FMGs (Foreign Medical Grads). If Depak Desai could get licensed in the states, it can’t be that hard. However, these “doctors” are taking jobs that could be done by someone with a fraction of the education. Maybe we could find them jobs as medical or nursing assistants pending their actually passing the exams, and free up those menial jobs for others? At least this story is another stake in the heart of the idea that we need H1B guest workers.

The good news today masks another sad truth: the percentage of us “in the workforce” has declined. That means that more of us are staying home with the kids, more of us have gone back to school, more of us have tried to get disability benefits, and more of us have just plain given up on the idea of finding gainful employment.

I will wrap up with two related stories. First, unemployment benefits don’t increase unemployment, no matter what some conservatives want you to think. Second, some advice for the kids: employers don’t want to hear from or about your parents. Be a grown-up.

In Closing: All the NSA and Snowden you can stand; follow up on the 4th.

Same Love, or SCOTUS revisited

Exactly 10 years ago today, the second post ever on was about the Supreme Court. On that auspicious occasion, they struck down a Texas law on “deviant” (read, GAY) sex.

Now here we are a decade later, and the Supremes have struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. Now the Federal government is allowed to recognize same-sex marriages, and theoretically states can craft their own legislation allowing those marriages. In the words of one expert, “Today’s Supreme Court rulings will ensure that the debate about marriage continues.”

Not everyone is as happy as these people. Justice Scalia seemed to think it was overturning the will of the democratic process (and never mind what he did the other day). Some are calling this an “abomination.” They are of course ignoring that the same source calls cotton-poly blends and bacon “abominations.” Let them remove the plank from their own eye before removing the speck from another’s eye. I’l take them seriously after they clean out their closets and start eating kosher.

Don’t want a same-sex marriage? Don’t have one. Otherwise, mind your own damn business.

So, seeing as I missed Music Monday, here’s an appropriate track:


In Closing: Looks like the Duhpartment of Research has been hard at work; perspective; submarines; more NSA stuff; 15,000 square feet and only 2 bedrooms?; what?; top US landmarks; and Wendy! If I had stayed in Fort Worth, I might have had the chance to vote for her.