Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Mexico State Senator Willfully Ignorant of Native American "Two Spirits" People

From the PBS film Two Spirits.
If I'm quiet here, it's because I'm busy trying to keep wingnuts talking. Today's edition features New Mexico State Senator William Sharer bullshitting about the history of gay marriage, native Americans, and Alexander the Great.

Senator Sharer says, "Nowhere in Native American tradition has marriage been anything but the joining of men and women."

For those of us who care about learning things, here's something I learned recently, from Dr. Brian J. Gilley, author of Becoming Two-Spirit: Gay Identity and Social Acceptance in Indian Country :
“Prior to European contact, sexuality was not a determining factor in someone’s identity,” he said. “It was the role in the community. Gender was tied to that role. Who you had sex with was not a concern. The Europeans come, Native American societies are thrust in rapid change, and some societies incorporate European ideals quickly.”

Monday, August 12, 2013

Why Haven't We Seen More Doghouse Riley Tributes?

Sam Wang's Meta-Margin, Princeton Election Consortium
Scott Clevenger over at World O' Crap dug up some awesome quotes from the late Doghouse Riley.
Jesus, think what these people would be like without the humanizing effect of Christianity.
Since I'm a fan of poker who discovered the far superior form of gambling known as prediction markets, this one really stuck out:
“Postive expectation” is a measure of a bet’s ratio to the total pot multiplied by the odds of winning. So if you’re facing a $10 raise for a $20 pot, and your expectation of winning is even, you’d make the bet because you win $20 half the time and lose only $10 the other half. Of course, for every positive expectation there’s an equal and opposite negative expectation, and that doesn’t count your ability to estimate the chances of winning, or the rake, but then I’ve never yet met a(n amateur) gambler who didn’t tell you how much in won in Vegas while leaving out what he spent to get it. It’s the triumph of hope over mathematics, which is why schools hold bake sales and bookies don’t.
I'm really going to miss that guy.

That's a whole lot of Positive Expectation right there.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

David Brooks Channels Mike Rowe While Dean Baker Takes the Dirty Job of Cleaning Up Their Pile of Crap

David Brooks goes all Mike Rowe with the BS about skills shortages in the US labor market:
It [weak job growth] probably has to do with a skills shortage, that as technology increases, skills have got to keep up and skills are just not keeping up...
It's a dirty job, but Dean Baker slaps Brooks upside the head with some basic economic facts:
If this claim were true it would mean that there are substantial segments of the labor market where we are seeing labor shortages. That would mean that workers in some occupations would be seeing rapidly rising wages. We should also see industries or occupations where the length of the average workweek is increasing rapidly. Employers would be trying to get the workers they have to put in more hours, since they can't find additional workers. In these industries/occupations we should also see a high ratio of job openings to unemployed workers. There are no major areas of the labor market where we see this evidence of labor shortages. In other words, Brooks is just making this up out of thin air.
Mike Rowe said he'd probably vote for Romney. This tells me that the Ford spokesman is likely a corporate shill. So it shouldn't be surprising to find out that his supposed "skills gap" is really a bunch of corporate bitching that they can't find people to do these jobs because they won't raise pay enough to actually attract the qualified applicants.

On Real Time, Rowe gave the example of a Caterpillar heavy equipment company in Las Vegas (probably Cashman, which doesn't post wages on it's job listings). He claims those jobs start at 40K a year, for operating heavy machinery. He says in a few short years you can make $120,000 a year. He's full of shit.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median wage for heavy equipment operators in the United States is $41,870, an hourly wage of $20.13 per hour, as of May 2012. The average nationwide for those who operate bulldozers, backhoes, cranes and road grading machinery is slightly higher than the median, at $46,270 per year, or $22.24 per hour.
So, here's the problem. He's spewing the right wing "skills gap" BS because this is how Republicans blame "lazy" and "uneducated" kids who don't want the dirty jobs, instead of the large corporations that refuse to follow the laws of supply and demand when it comes to labor.

Private fixed investment as a percentage of potential GDP. Via Wonkblog
And these people claim to be capitalists who believe in free markets... Free markets mean supply and demand rules apply. If you need more of a supply of skilled labor, and you're not getting them, then you need to pay more for it. Since, as Mr. Baker showed, there is no rise in wages for these kinds of jobs, and there is no increase in hours worked by those already employed in these jobs, then there is no shortage.

It's an elaborate Bullshit Mountain ( Jon Stewart) constructed by our market-rigging financial elites designed to distract us from the real problems, which are lack of demand due to the housing bubble and Little Bush Depression, and lack of investment in infrastructure which would more than pay for itself by making us safer, more productive, and more competitive.

Borrowing costs are very low right now. Labor costs are low. Materials costs are low. Equipment is sitting idle. The markets are screaming at us to invest in infrastructure. What part of "buy low" don't these supposed capitalists get?

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Doghouse Riley, Bane of Punditasters, Dead at 59

True wit is nature to advantage dressed
What oft was thought but ne'er so well expressed.
--Alexander Pope
Bats Left/Throws Right, Doghouse Riley's blog, has seen it's last post from the master of lambasting the "Punditasters." It was a quick joke on the Royal Baby. His penultimate post, however, was, quite fittingly, a ripping of one of his favorite targets, former Indiana Governor and once top pisser in the trickle down economy (Bush's budget director), Mitch Daniels. It begins:
“I don’t read Reason magazine.”
-Mitch “Cut and Paste” Daniels
NO, that’s not Reason’s ad campaign for this fall...
Great stuff, as usual. But now that Douglas Case has passed from this world, I'd like to pass on a real sweet taste of what he did best. Via Thers from Whiskey Fire, I find that Scott at World O' Crap, has a penchant for one of my favorite Rileyisms: Punditaster. Here's Riley in 2009 slipping Andrew Sullivan's head onto a pike:
...I've got less use for Andrew Sullivan, Punditaster, than I do for Andrew Sullivan, pudgy Melina-Mercouri-glasses-wearing fashion icon, so whatever it was that sent me there did not prepare me for his Above The Title credit: ANDREW SULLIVAN• OF NO PARTY OR CLIQUE. It's a veritable masterpiece of breathtakingly casual deceit, and I stop short of calling it a work of true genius only because I regularly inspect food labels and, frankly, Sully's got nothing on, just to pick one example among thousands, Prego™ Heart-Smart© Mushroom Sauce and its 410 mg of sodium in one 1/2 cup serving. Really, it was like clicking over to Mark Sanford's homepage and seeing "I BELIEVE IN FOLLOWING YOUR HEART" just under his name, in some ill-considered cursive font for good measure. Hey, Grizzly Adams, Jr.: you, sir, were the posterboy for political party membership that transcended rationality for almost two decades, which leaves alone your ongoing membership in a Church which insists you're going to Hell. Whatever honor accrues for having scurried off that first ship the moment you noticed she'd run aground while following your charts, it does not include getting to pretend you weren't ever on board in the first place. But thanks for adding that CLIQUE bit; one sometimes forgets that The Atlantic and "Sherman Adams Junior High Eighth Grade Dance Decoration Committee" are near synonyms these days.
He was right up there with Charlie Pierce and Hunter Thompson. So, hey, Charlie, do me a favor and watch your cholesterol, OK?