Music Monday: Happy New Year


In Closing: My new favorite blog; disgraceful; AC saves lives; damned if he doesn’t sound reasonable; no deal may well be better than a bad deal, but it doesn’t matter because there will be no vote tonight; yeah, that does sound kinda dumb when you put it that way; Baby Boomer Nuns; they wouldn’t be there if they could farm it legally; we never had a chance; even a broken clock is right twice a day; and somebody must write a sci-fi epic based on this picture.

The Shorties in Black

In Plane Sight: I have a soft spot for Boeing. Here’s the latest version of the 747.

True: About the 2012 Elections.

On the Economy: global growth; more than 3 people for every available job in June despite the highest number of job openings in 4 years.

Math: “With regard to mathematics, the problem is not that we are teaching too much of it—but that we are teaching math ineffectively.  The expectations and architecture of the new Common Core State Standards in Mathematics can help to remedy this.  Faithful implementation of those standards will support districts that want to adopt curricula that unfurl mathematics in a rational, coherent program and that jettison approaches that are illogically sequenced and that overuse and abuse manipulatives.”

Perhaps there’s a logical explanation: Kids who eat good food turn out smarter than kids that eat junk food. Is it that good food contributes to intelligence, or that smarter parents feed their kids better stuff? I fail to see that this study accounted for the IQ, educational level, or socio-economic level of the parents.

People stand with the Nuns: and they appreciate it.

Today I learned: apparently, a psychic’s word is enough to get a warrant to search somebody’s property for a mass grave. Local governments are strapped for cash, but somehow they’ve got money for psychics? I do hope the locals find a way to get rid of the sheriff and judge that signed off on this.

The truth about corporate income tax: Many companies don’t pay that much.

Killer Kats: Turns out that outdoor cats kill a lot more than anybody knew. Funny thing about them being predators.

Funny, I have yet to kill anybody: “People without Facebook accounts are suspicious“? Seriously? I don’t have a Facebook account. There are millions of people who don’t. I’d say that relatively few of us are planning violence. Except maybe against idiots who think it means anything that I choose not to participate.

Good News on the Economy

Seriously, I’m coming up on 9 years of writing here, and this is the first time I’ve been able to write those words without meaning it sarcastically.

First, unemployment is down to 8.1% (locally, down to 12.4%). That’s still too high, and it still doesn’t account for people who have given up on finding a job and people who have settled for part time work. And the economy still isn’t quite up to making enough jobs for people new to the workforce, and new grads are still going to have a crappy time out there. However, not that long ago we were looking at almost 10%.

Second, there are signs of life in American manufacturing. Auto plants are working at capacity, and may have to actually hire an additional shift of workers — which is much less expensive than building a new plant and then having it sit idle 16 hours a day. Some industries that decided it was cheaper to make it overseas and ship it here are thinking twice. Senior executives are cautiously optimistic, and 40% report moving operations to the United States.

Finally, home prices are starting to inch up. Granted, this is at least in part because of reduced supply (and at least in part because prices got stupid-low on a per-square-foot basis in some places).

So there you have it. People are getting jobs and buying stuff. Some manufacturers are running out of the ability to make more stuff — so they may have to build places and hire people to make even more stuff. Maybe soon the Fed can raise interest rates from the supposedly “stimulating” levels they are today, and in turn banks will be able to make a reasonable profit lending money without making up fees or outright committing fraud.

In Closing: Who could have guessed that Citizens United could open the door to ordinary people taking over elections?; never forget Romney’s dog; Tokyo Sky Tree now open; too useful to be real; cheap and free ebooks; yet one more reason I’m against school vouchers; FISA; $27,000??; and the Vatican gets outraged when nuns actually act on What Would Jesus Do.