Friday, March 31, 2017

Only in Vegas: A Brothel For the NFL Raiders

In the 16 years I have lived in Las Vegas, I have never seen the city more excited about anything than the recent approval by the NFL to move the Oakland Raiders to this city.

It will add jobs. First, to build a new $1.9 billion stadium. In addition, business leaders are already plotting ways to take economic advantage of the team playing in this, the entertainment and gambling capital of the world.  Package deals are being planned for "out-of-staters" that would include airfare, hotel accommodations, shows, and of course, a ticket to a Raiders game.

Something else already in the works, is a Raiders-themed brothel just about an hour's drive from the Las Vegas Strip.  Team players and personnel will get a  50% discount for VIP-only services rendered, though access won't be restricted to Raiders personnel.  Anyone can be a customer.  So, you just may get a glimpse of your favorite Raider's player in "assumed action" off the field.

The brothel will be built and run by Dennis Hof, The famous owner and operator of the existing "Bunny Ranch".  The new establishment will be called the "Pirates Booty Sports Brothel".  No word if this deal was one of the things that encouraged the NFL owners to vote 31-1 for the relocation.  Evidently, this beat any incentive Oakland could come up with..


Raiders-themed brothel to coincide with Vegas move, include team specials:

How the Raiders will actually help the Las Vegas economy:

BunnyRanch | Dennis Hof | Legal Nevada Brothel | CatHouse:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Opioid Abuse and Death in America

In 2015, opioid related deaths hit a record of just under 33,100.  That was more than all the deaths related to heroin and cocaine use, combined.  It's only 2000 deaths short of the number of motor vehicle fatalaties in that same year. The principal reason for this problem is over-prescribing by doctors.  Still, they continue to prescribe these drugs to at-risk individuals, and the rate of deaths  keeps climbing at an uncontrolled rate and accelerating; nearly tripling since 2002:

In this country, ground zero for this problem is Maryland and its largest city Baltimore.  The rate of opioid-related hospital admissions in Maryland in 2014 was 362 per 100,000 citizens. Substantially higher that the average of 225 per 100,000 for all of the United States.  But, the real problem is Baltimore and the 977 admissions per 100,000 citizens.  A serious issue in that city is that hospital emergency rooms are not permitted to treat opioid addiction for low income users.   As a result, the only time one of these individuals is admitted to an emergency room is after it is too late and that person has already overdosed.

Because of the frequency of opioid deaths in the state, Maryland's Governor has declared a state of emergency.  And now, President Trump has created a commission to study and recommend changes to control what is now an epidemic.


Opioid overdose deaths just jumped again:

Motor Vehicle Deaths by Year:

CDC: Physicians are a leading source of prescription opioids for the highest-risk users:

Opioid users filling Maryland hospital beds and emergency rooms:

Source of Graph: CDC: Overdose Death Rates:

Maryland governor declares state of emergency for opioid crisis:

Opioid Epidemic: Trump to Set Up Commission on Addiction Crisis:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Death of Chicago?

Most everyone knows that Chicago has a murder rate problem.  But, it also is a city that may, like Detroit, feel the pain of bankruptcy at some point.

A recent report from the Census Bureau showed that the Chicago area had the greatest loss of population in the country; losing 21,300 residents.  That was a doubling of the prior year's loss.  Now, while losing 21,000+ residents in a city of 2.7 million isn't that significant, the fact that the loss of residents doubled in one year is.  A trend that can't be sustained without the city substantially losing tax revenues.  Something that it can ill afford.  Chicago is already in financial distress; ranking the worst among 116 major cities in the U.S.  Of course, the Mayor's solution: more taxes.  Something  that would only accelerate the exodus.

Chicago's problems don't stop there.  Since 2000, the middle class in the city has gone from 56% to 51% with most falling into the lower classes.  As a result, average wages have also decreased and again, the city's tax base has shrunk.  On top of all that, the city's school system is in such bad shape that it may actually declare bankruptcy to escape its mammoth debt commitments.

Simply, things aren't going in the right direction for Chicago. Everything seems to be pointing to a city in a serious death spiral.  It has been following the exact same path that Detroit found itself in when it finally declared bankruptcy in 2013 and even with bankruptcy, the city is still shrinking in size.


Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore Lead Nation in Population Loss; Maricopa County Has Biggest Gain:

Chicago Has Biggest Population Dip As Southern States Grow:

Chicago area's middle class shrinking, report finds:

Chicago's Population:

EXCLUSIVE: Chicago, New York in Worst Financial Shape Among Large US Cities:

Maybe Chicago schools should declare bankruptcy and get it over:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Democrats Anti-Trump Circus over Gorsuch

When I listened to the Senate Gorsuch hearings for his nomination to the Supreme Court, the Democrats had very little to condemn this man for.  His answers to their concerns sounded both logical and sincere and he remained unflustered.  Yet, the Dems kept coming back to one ruling that they think paints him as a heartless S.O.B. who would leave a truck driver to die in 14 below weather.  In this supposed "Frozen Trucker" case, Gorsuch ruled against the majority and sided with the company who fired the trucker for leaving his rig behind on the side of the road to find gasoline. Gorsuch ruled against the trucker because of Federal law and simply told the Democrats that if they didn't like his ruling, then change the law.

So, out of 2700+ rulings, the Democrats believe that just this one ruling should disqualify him.  The Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer also claims that Gorsuch is a "conservative" ideologue and unfit to be on the Supreme Court.  A fact that I find interesting since the website FiveThirtyEight researched his rulings on the 10th Circuit and actually found him to be more liberal than many of the other justices on that court.

But, still, the Democrats don't want him on the Supreme Court.  In another effort to block him, they are now claiming that as long as Trump is under investigation by the FBI, he has no right to appoint anyone to the "court".  Where were these people when Hillary was running for President and under an FBI investigation for her private email server?

Just how long are Democrats going to carry on this circus of blocking Trump at every turn?  Can we please get on with the business of running the government?


Dems Pounce on Gorsuch's 'Frozen Trucker' Ruling:

Schumer Says Gorsuch’s ‘Conservative Ideology’ Makes Him Unfit for the Supreme Court:

For A Trump Nominee, Neil Gorsuch’s Record Is Surprisingly Moderate On Immigration And employment discrimination:

In Move to Slow Gorsuch Confirmation, Dems Cite FBI Probe:

Hillary Clinton's FBI investigation: What you need to know ... -


Monday, March 27, 2017

History and Why TrumpCare Failed

I hope Donald Trump learned a valuable lesson about Washington politics with his failure to pass the American Health Care Act (now forevermore known as TrumpCare).

One of the hardest things to do in Washington D.C. is to build a consensus; even among your own party members. This is one of the reasons why, in 1993, HillaryCare failed.  Too many Democrats had conflictingideas on how it should be done. Just like today. But, it was that lesson learned from the 1993 failure that allowed a consensus to form among Democrats leading to ObamaCare pasing into law in 2010.  Of course, some of that consensus was bought with things like the "Louisiana Purchase" and the "Corn-husker Kickback".

Everyone in the media knew there were too many defections from the GOP plan.  Yet, Trump and Ryan pushed it anyway.  I guess they were thinking it would happen simply because Trump promised it would.  Trump just may want to do a rewrite of his bestseller and rename it the "Art of the No Deal".


Uh Oh: At Least 36 Republicans Plan To Vote Against GOP Health Care Bill:

GOP cave on Obamacare repeal is the biggest broken promise in political history:

Clinton Health Care Plan:

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

EDITORIAL: The $300 million Louisiana purchase - Washington Times:

Friday, March 24, 2017

Will Carbonated Water Save the Planet from Climate Change?

The world has enjoyed "fizzy" water and beverages for more than 200 years.  Now, there is a chance that it will be the savior of the planet by converting carbonated water into ethanol.

Three scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have accidentally found that a nano tech wafer of one centimeter square applied to water being infused with CO2 will actually achieve the production of ethanol.  While some of the CO2 will escape back into the air, they have been able to convert 63% of the gas in the process.  More importantly, the voltage needed is as little as 1.2 volts.  Thus, a power plant producing carbon dioxide may have that output captured and turned into a usable fuel by simply applying a small fraction of the energy it produces.  Also, the wafer that is used in the process is inexpensive.  Its made from copper, nitrogen, and carbon.

I guess, this invention by these "Oak Ridge Boys" will go down in history with all the other accidental scientific discoveries such as penicillin and microwave ovens.


Carbonated Water:

Nanotech Wafer Turns Carbon Dioxide Into Ethanol:

Reversing the combustion process to convert CO2 into ethanol:

10 Awesome Accidental Discoveries:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

It Took Just Over a Year for the Paris Climate Accord to Start Falling Apart

In December 2015, the Paris Climate Accord was hailed a "landmark" agreement by the New York Times.  Rich countries, like the U.S. and those in the European Union, agreed to make significant cuts in their climate changing emissions.  At the same time, those rich nations would contribute billions of dollars to aid the poorer countries of the world to fight  their war against climate change.  Barack Obama made a big thing out of it.  Others, apparently wiser, said the agreement would fail.

Thus, we come to early March 2017.  Bloomberg News is now reporting that the world's wealthiest countries are backing off from their financial commitments to the Paris Accord.  Some will try and blame Trump for this lack of commitment; giving these countries the cover they need to claim that the "Accord" is useless without the United States; the world's largest polluter.  Maybe so.  But, the reality is that the world is in a serious economic slowdown.  Without more money to do both the normal work of providing for their citizens, and at the same time, take on the additional burden of fighting climate change both at home and in other poorer countries, the Paris Accord was destined to fail.

In essence, the Paris Accord, like every climate agreement before it, again wind up on the trash heap of attempts by nations, not being able to work together to, you guessed it, save the world from climate change.  Do you see more than a little sense of climate denial in this story?  It appears that another Obama legacy is about to fall right along with ObamaCare.


Nations Approve Landmark Climate Accord in Paris:

Why the Paris Climate Change Agreement Will Fail:

G-20 Poised to Signal Retreat From Climate-Change Funding Pledge:

IMF Sees Subdued Global Growth, Warns Economic Stagnation Could Fuel Protectionist Calls:

Obama Caps Environmental Legacy With Paris Climate Change Deal:


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ISIS in Iraq: Close to Defeat?

Is one of the "I's" (Iraq) in ISIS' name on its way out?  Two reports from two U.K. online newspapers seems to say yes. The U.K. DailyMail recently reported that the "leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has admitted defeat in Iraq and ordered militants to either flee or kill themselves in suicide attacks, it has been claimed." In that same article it was reported "UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon said he expected to see ISIS expelled from Iraq's major towns by the end of 2017."

Then, there was this recent quote from the Guardian:
"Firas Abi Ali, a senior analyst of terrorism in the Middle East, said the jihadist group - also known as Islamic State - was being weakened by American air power and was unlikely to survive as a military force beyond the next 12 months."
In my opinion, this is big news that I have not seen reported by the media in the U.S..  Yet, the U.K. news outlets seem to have a handle on the story.  Is the news being ignored so as to not give Trump any credit for what to be happening in his first year in office?


ISIS leader 'admits DEFEAT in Iraq and orders militants to flee or kill themselves in suicide attacks':

Isis will be defeated 'by the end of 2017' 'Islamic State don’t stand a chance against a ground assault that is backed by air power,' says senior analyst:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Record Low Birth Rate, A Crisis For Older Americans

Last August, amid all the coverage of the presidential election, a significant news item was overlooked.  That was the fact that, last year, America's birth rate reached a record low of 59.8 births per 1000 women.  By comparison, at the peak of the baby-boom years, the average was 122.9.

In a country that is getting older with a projected percentage of the over-65 population rising from 15% today to 24% by 2060, this is a problem.  The problem lies in the fact that social programs rely heavily on younger Americans paying into programs like Medicare and Social Security to keep them buoyed into the future.  If there are fewer young people and more older people, the young are going to have to carry a bigger burden to support the seniors of the future. Plus, who will take care of an aging population?  Is senior-care the big job sector of the future?

Facing the same outlook, Japan is desperately trying to "develop" robots to take care of its sick and older population.  But, what about the cost of caring for an aging population in the U.S.?  Has anyone heard of a single politician that seems concerned about this?  Democrats seem to think that Medicare and Social Security are solvent programs as far as the eye can see!


US fertility rate falls to lowest on record:

Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States:

Development of care robots growing in aging Japan:

Monday, March 20, 2017

Trump's Tax Return: Who Is Mailbox-Man?

Rachel Maddow has deservedly taken a lot of heat since over-hyping the release of two summary pages from Donald Trump's 2005 tax return.  Some say the release actually benefited Trump by showing that he paid $38 million in taxes that year.  Because of this, some have even concluded that Trump himself, released the information.

What I find more interesting however, is why a relatively unknown economics/business writer by the name of David Cay Johnston would wind up with these copies that were supposedly and conveniently, slipped into his "mailbox".  Thus, the unknown delivery man can't be prosecuted for illegally obtaining and distributing Trump's tax return. Still, why Johnston; when there are so many other better-known media types, better able to make the contents of Trump's return known publicly?  Well, the answer to that question is that Johnston is essentially a Trump and rich people hater.

In 2016, Johnston published a book titled "The Making of Donald Trump".  A book reviewer at the Boston Globe said it was: "a chronicle of mobsters and mistresses, shady construction deals and financial shenanigans, monumental projects and miserable (and possibly illegal) business practices".   In fact, when Johnston first met Trump in 1988, he negatively referred to him as "P.T. Barnum"; the man most associated with the phrase: "There is a sucker is born every minute."  However, a better insight as to why Trump's return would be so relevant to Johnston comes from two other books he authored:
  • "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense and Stick You With The Bill"
  • "Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich—and Cheat Everybody Else"
So, when you look at the numbers in that return, they perfectly fit the type of individual that Johnston portrays in those two books.  Trump actually made a quarter of a billion dollars in 2005, but only paid taxes on $153 million of it because of deductions that favored himself and his business. Deductions that, in Johnston's eyes, are only available to a very rich person.  That's the real story behind the release of Trump's tax return and why Johnston had access to it.  But, understand, those deductions were all legal.  Things that the political left constantly and falsely claims as being loopholes.

Johnston's "paper trail" of writings convinces me that, perhaps he had something to do with the illegal acquisition of those two-pages.  I have no proof of that, and conveniently, Johnston's claim that he found them in his mailbox lets him off the hook legally.  Still, something doesn't smell right about it.


Trump DID pay tax: White House fury as Donald Trump's tax returns are leaked showing that President made $150million and paid $38million to the government in 2005:

Rachel Maddow’s Trump ‘bombshell’ completely backfired:

Trump: It's 'fake news' that a reporter just opened his mailbox and found my tax returns:

David Cay Johnston:

The Making of Donald Trump:

A sucker is born every minute:

Here's one curious thing about the Donald Trump tax leak:

Is it illegal for the media to publish Donald Trump’s leaked tax return?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

No Evidence That Trump Tower Was Wiretapped?

In a joint news conference, the ranking Democrat and the ranking Republican of the House Intelligence Committee said that there is "no evidence" for Trump's claim that Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped. The problem with that is the following photo from the print edition of the New York Times on the very day Trump was inaugurated.
Click on Image to Enlarge or See Reference Below
Obviously, the "Times" had some reliable source for this story.  A story that starts out by saying "American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications".  A statement like that with "agencies" in the plural shows that the wiretapping activities were widespread and had to have included Trump Tower. Also, it's a little hard to believe that Obama had no knowledge of this activity.

Further, the article states that "It is not clear if the intercepted communications had anything to do with Mr. Trump's campaign, or Mr. Trump himself".  Maybe the Intelligence Committee should be asking these New York Times writers about this story before making their "no evidence" declaration?


Photo Source: Did the New York Times Contradict Their 20 January 2017 Report About Wiretapping?

House intelligence chiefs say 'no evidence' Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped but they'll grill FBI chief in public on explosive claims – and DOJ faces subpoenas over whether it asked for permission to snoop:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pelosi's Flip-Flop On Health Care Legislation

Do you remember this Pelosi speech that took place in 2010 before the voting on the ObamaCare legislation? She famously stated "We Have to Pass the Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In it":

Well, she obviously has changed her mind about that.  She recently sent the now Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, a letter with regards to the GOP's healthcare legislation stating: "The American people and Members have a right to know the full impact of this legislation before any vote in Committee or by the whole House."

Does she think that America's memory is so short that she can "flip" on a stupid statement she made just 7 years ago?  Really, I think the woman is losing it.


Source of Video:

Press Release: Pelosi Sends Letter to Speaker Ryan Calling for Release of Full Impact of GOP ACA Repeal Bill Before Committees Vote:

Your Smart TV Spying on You is Old News

When Wikileaks dumped thousands of documents, apparently sourced from the CIA, people were shocked to find out that their Smart TV's and phones could be spying on them, even if their TV was turned off. But, this is old news.  CNN reported this back in 2013.  How-to-Geek even instructed us how to keep your TV on the straight and narrow. And how not to have "god-knows-what's going on in your home" revealed to some unknown entity.

The simple fact is; if you are connected to the Internet, you can be spied on.  More importantly, if you have WIFI in your home, someone as far as a half-mile away can be intercepting data that you are sending and receiving on your laptops, PC's, tablets or whatever.  You should protect yourself with a strong password of at least 12 characters that make absolutely no sense.  Using names of things or people as part of a password only opens the door to eavesdropping.  That's because software used to crack your WIFI's password has an embedded "dictionary" which can be used to easily detect when your encryption coding is broken. This software is out there, and in many cases, free to download.

So, if you don't want your neighbor's kid listening in on your network, create a strong WIFI password.


Wikileaks Unveils 'Vault 7': "The Largest Ever Publication Of Confidential CIA Documents"; Another Snowden Emerges:

Your TV might be watching you:

How to Stop Your Smart TV From Spying on You:

How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It):;postID=9081434618056028466

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Contradiction: Strong Jobs Growth and Weak Economic Growth Predicitions

Update: Obviously I was wrong on the Fed rate hike prediction.  The Fed just raised rates on the strength of inflation data and despite weak economic growth. Reference: Fed raises rates for 3rd time in 15 months, hike forecast unchanged:

Original Post:

March 10th's stronger-than-expected number of jobs added, has many falsely believing that the economy is strong.  As of this writing, the Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDPNow projection for economic growth in the first quarter sits at just 1.2% after a dramatic 3.4% projection at the end of January.

The biggest contributor to the strong February jobs number was warmer-than-normal weather and not the economy in general.  Warmer weather meant more construction projects in what would normally be a winter lull.  That is why we saw 58,000 construction jobs created in the month; the highest level in 10 years.  And, we shouldn't erroneously attribute the strong jobs report to some type of Trump-effect.  Further, the assumption that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates solely on the jobs report and not on economic growth is probably wrong.


Strong U.S. job growth, rising wages set stage for Fed rate hike:

152,528,000: Record Number of Employed in February; Participation Rate Rises:

Source of Graphic:

The numbers are in on this freakishly warm February:

Monday, March 13, 2017

Daylight Savings: One Hour That Could Change Your Life

I doubt anyone feels well rested after losing an hour of sleep as we switch to Daylight Savings Time. But, climate change alarmists love it because that lost hour gives you more daylight to deal with in your daily lives, resulting in a reduction of lights-on power consumption.  At least that was the intent when Thunder Bay, Canada first introduced it in 1908.  Then, in 1916, Germany became the first country to introduce this clock-change on a national basis.  The U.S. introduced it in 1918.  Today, 70 countries practice this regimen of losing, then gaining one hour, twice a year.

However, there is a dark side to Daylight Savings.  That is a disruption of natural sleep patterns.  On the Monday following that one hour of sleep deprivation, there are more traffic accidents.  Students don't perform as well, and, I assume adults don't do as well at their jobs either; possibly resulting in an increase in work-related accidents.  No clear statistics are available on that. However, a 2014 study of Michigan Hospitals found a 25% increase in heart attacks the Monday following the "Spring-Forward" tradition.  Some suggest that depression, as well, results from the loss of sleep for those a little closer to the "edge".  All this for a savings of just 1/2 of 1 percent of energy per day; according to a report from Duke Energy.

Maybe we, and the other 69 countries that practice this annual tradition, should rethink the value of gaining an hour of daylight at the cost of losing that hour of sleep.

Lastly, I should mention that battery manufacturers love it. Americans, are urged to replace the batteries in our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at this time.  Even if those batteries have another 2 years or more of life in them.  How many tons of toxic batteries are tossed into landfills each year due to Daylight Savings Time?  How about that, you climate change environmentalists!


The History of Daylight Savings Time:

Daylight saving time change impacts schools, ERs and roadways:

Daylight saving time may be killing you:

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Store Closures: Coming to Retailers Near You

At the end of February, the credit rating service, Moody's, announced that the number of credit-stressed retailers has tripled since the end of the Great Recession of 2009.  Further, based on the current trend, Moody's expects a record number of these distressed retailers to close within 5 years; assuming they don't close before that.

The explosion of retailers shutting their doors began in 2015.  Thousands of big-name stores hit the skids starting with the bankruptcy of Radio Shack and the closure of nearly 1800 other locations..  Some claim that the retail closures are a result of the fact that there is just too much retail space in the U.S..  In fact, there is 7 feet by 7 feet of retail space (50 square feet) for every man, woman, and child in the country.  Other factors are the Internet. Sites such as Amazon are killing the traditional brick and mortar stores.  But, that doesn't necessarily explain why McDonald's was forced to close 700 stores in 2015.  I personally believe that people's wages have suffered, and as a result, discretionary spending is a major problem.

Whatever the cause, retailers shutting their doors means a loss of jobs.  It also means a loss of economic growth, which is primarily based on consumer spending.  That could mean that we are heading to another recession in the not-too-distant future. Of course, that assumption is based on the fact that the number of distressed retailers isn't just a trend, but instead, the canary in the coal mine for the economy.  It's only early March 2017, and already 13 major retailers have announced the closure of 1500 stores.  Both Macy's and Sears/K-Mart are on death watch.  And don't be shocked if more find themselves in a similar situation.

In my opinion, the situation is serious for both jobs and the economy. and can't be rectified unless or until wages start growing again.  Note my blog entry "Can Trump Make Wages Great Again?" as referenced below. 

Moody's: Moody's: Number of distressed US retailers triples since the Great Depression Recession; debt levels up:

Number of distressed U.S. retailers at highest level since Great Recession:

Store closings are the hottest trend in retail:

All 2015 Store Closings - Stores Closed by U.S. Retail Industry Chains:

These 13 retailers are closing more than 1,500 stores in 2017:

Why are Macy's and Sears in distress? - The Washington Post:

Can Trump Make Wages Great Again?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Trump's Mexico Wall in a World Divided by Walls

Starting in the 1950's, after World War II, and then following 9/11 and the rise of terrorism, the building of border walls has surged, as noted by the following graph from the Migration Policy Institute:

Currently, Saudi Arabia is building a 600-mile wall along its border with Iraq to keep ISIS out.  Another nearly 600-mile wall is being built by Turkey to keep Syrian refugees from overrunning its border.  Spain has an expansive wall to stop Moroccans from entering.  Walls also exist between India and Pakistan; South and North Korea; India and Bangladesh; and the list goes on.

Decades ago, the poet Robert Frost wrote 'Mending Wall'.  The poem opened with the line "Something there is that doesn’t love a wall" and also contained these words: "Good fences make good neighbors". Many falsely believed that Frost was arguing for the building of walls.  However, 'Mending Walls' was actually an anti-wall literary work.  Take this line as an example: "Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what hat I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offense".

Those last words could be no truer then now.  Trump's wall with Mexico is obviously being built with the intent of  "walling out" illegals, drugs, and gangs coming in via Mexico.  But, there is a cost in that -- like the poem states -- the wall "was like to give offense" to our neighboring country, Mexico.

To me, walls are ugly divisions among societies.  A major 1800 mile wall on our southern border would be just that. I would prefer to use existing laws to crack down on employers who attract illegal aliens into the country for employment.  We should also change our immigration laws, so that legal, migrant workers can enter.  These two changes would greatly reduce work for illegals, and, as we saw during the Great Recession, many returned home due to the lack of jobs.  Also, by this point, we should be able to use technology in order to avoid the building of an actual physical wall.  Just my opinion.


Source of Graph:

Saudi Arabia Constructing 600-Mile Wall To Keep Out ISIS:

These 14 walls continue to separate the world:

Turkey-Syria border wall completed by half:

Robert Frost's 'Mending Wall':

More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S. | Pew Research:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Beauty Pageant Saudi Style

In a country that demands that women dress modestly, cover their faces, and not wear makeup to enhance their appearance, what does any self-respecting Bedouin do in search of beauty in Saudi Arabia? It's simple. You have a camel pageant.  Apparently, that's the next best thing to a woman. This year 300,000 of the humped beauties showed off their assets.  In compliance with the rules, the contestants vie for the title of "most beautiful camel in the world" by showing off their 'untouched natural beauty'.  No breast or hump enhancements, cosmetic surgery, or dye jobs allowed.  There was no word as to whether or not a swimsuit competition was included.  But, the key judging criteria was based on "curly hair, pert ears, long lashes, and a high perfectly positioned hump".   Except for the hump part, it sounds like a traditional beauty contest to me.  The hump must be a real turn-on for the judges.

There is also no word if the "crowned" camel will subsequently appear on the U.S. equivalent of the Today Show or Good Morning America, or perhaps do a world tour.  For the record, I don't think Trump was involved with this beauty contest, although Saudi Arabia was suspiciously not included in the recent travel ban.  Perhaps another "impeach him" movement is in order.  Of course, we may find some old pictures of Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer meeting with camels, then as usual, there will be scandal on both sides of the aisle..


Seven things women in Saudi Arabia cannot do: The dress code for women is governed by a strict interpretation of Islamic law and is enforced to varying degrees across the country:

World's most beautiful CAMEL to be crowned in £25m Saudi contest (and it pays to have long lashes, curly hair and the biggest hump):

What's Behind Donald Trump's Obsession With Beauty Pageants:

Saudi Arabia and Egypt are excluded from Trump's ban. Why?: 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Warren Buffet Doesn't See Increased Weather-Related Insurance Claims

For the last three decades, climate change alarmists have told us that weather-related events -- tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and droughts -- will only get worse and more intense due to global warming.  The implication is that the world is heading for disaster.

The only problem with that claim, is that liberal billionaire, Warren Buffet and his major insurance underwriting activity, isn't seeing the kind of risks that climate alarmists have been claiming.  In a recent interview with CNBC, he said simply: "I have not seen anything yet that would cause me to change the way we look at evaluating quakes, tornadoes, hurricanes by atmosphere. Now, that may happen some day."

Of course, he's right.  We haven't had a major hurricane hit the U.S. in 4001 days. That's almost 11 years.  Also, last year saw far fewer tornadoes than the average of 1,186 for each of the last 20 years. In fact, 2016's 898 tornadoes was a 24% shortfall from the 20-year average.  But, as noted by the following chart, it wasn't just 2016 that had a low tornado count:

We have had low tornado counts in each of the years since 2011 which, to be fair, had the 3rd highest count in the previous 15 years.  We also have to take into consideration, from Buffet's statement, that we have more people and more densely populated areas.  Yet, he sees no alarm bells on weather-related insurance payouts.

This is merely another example of the lack of climate change activity that the alarmists keep warning us about.


Warren Buffett says global warming is not impacting the way Berkshire writes insurance:

Major hurricane landfall drought continues: 4001 days and counting in updated Pielke graph:

Lack of Tornadoes Continues with Only Five Reported in U.S. Since Mid-October:

U.S. Tornado Count at Its Lowest 3-Year Total Since 1950, and Here's Why:

Monday, March 6, 2017

Can Trump Make Wages Great Again?

Using average wage growth data from the Social Security Administration since 1973, I put together these statistics on wages for primarily eight-year Presidential terms:
Now,  the purpose here is not to disparage any particular President, but to show that all the successive terms of presidents since 1973 have seen a decline in wage growth.  Also understand, that wage growth (or the lack thereof) is a complex issue based on several factors that may or may not be controlled by Presidential actions:
      • Quantity and quality of job availability
      • Quality of the labor force in terms of education, experience, and skills
      • Amount and quality of jobs outsourced overseas
      • Government Regulation forcing companies to use outside, contract labor
From my perspective, all of these factors have contributed to slow wage growth over the years.  Most recently, ObamaCare has contributed to the problem because, when a company is forced to provide health insurance to its employees at a cost of no more than 9.5% of their incomes, the funding for that insurance by the employer depletes the available funds for wage increases.  For many workers, ObamaCare is their raise.  Also, companies are avoiding the high cost of providing health insurance by converting jobs to contract labor.  Labor, who then must buy their own insurance in compliance with the law.  This law has also produced high levels of part time labor.

But one of the biggest problems in wage advancement is a workforce that continues to be less educated. Today's best jobs are in high tech.  Yet America's students lag in the areas of math and science and those are the prerequisite for the college programs, that will ultimately fill those high tech jobs.  Without a quality workforce, employers are forced to look outside the United States for the kind of labor we need.

So, this brings us to President Trump.

Can he, as the title of the blog asks, make wages great again?  The answer is probably not.   He may keep some quality jobs from leaving our shores.  He may also reduce regulations and their negative impact on business and wage growth.  But, his biggest obstacle, will be the creation of a quality work force that meshes together with higher quality jobs.  To me, this is a nearly impossible task with the current structure of education in the country.  Simply speaking, Obama's own Education Department announced last fall that 60% of high school seniors were not prepared for either college, or worse yet, a career.  To use one of Trump's favorite expressions: "Sad!'.


1984 to 2015 Average Wage Data:

1973 to 1983 Average Wage Data:

Behind shrinking middle-class jobs: A surge in outsourcing:

Temp staffing jobs hit record as firms dodge ObamaCare costs:

People Joining The U.S. Workforce Today Are Less Educated Than Those Leaving It:

The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground:


Most High School Seniors Aren't College Or Career Ready, Says 'Nation's Report Card':

Study: Employers Hiring Freelancers To Avoid Obamacare:

Friday, March 3, 2017

Appeals Court Upholds Maryland's Assault Weapons Ban

Following the mass killing at Sandy Hook, the Maryland legislature passed into law, a 2013 ban on assault weapons.  As expected, that law has been challenged in court by gun rights advocates.

Just last February, a U.S. Court of Appeals, upheld the lower court's ruling that the law was constitutional.  The court agreed with the argument that "weapons of war" don't belong on our streets.  But, the "weapons of war" argument is specious.  Every assault weapons ban has only one thing that defines it: Cosmetics.  Here's a perfect example:

That graphic was done when Senator Dianne Feinstein was trying to push a national assault ban through the Senate, by offering an example of how useless assault weapons bans are.  Maryland's law is no different.  Gun manufacturers know they can simply make subtle changes in order to make the weapons legal.  A perfect example is the Sig Sauer R716:

For whatever reason, the "Firearm Search" website of the Maryland State Police says this rifle is legal in the state to buy or sell.  On the other hand, the Sig Sauer MCX -- which was used in the Orlando massacre -- is not.  And, it actually looks less menacing than the R716:

Both weapons accept magazines with more than 10 rounds.  Both are semi-automatic, and both can kill.  I think that anti-gun legislatures are passing laws without the slightest understanding of the gun industry.  They are trying to fool people into believing that they have solved a problem when they haven't.  Guns like those above kill very few people in this country.

I just wish that the State of Maryland was more interested in solving the murder rate in Baltimore which has been at record levels since the death of Freddie Gray.


US appeals court upholds Maryland assault weapons ban:

Source of the First Graphic:

Maryland State Police: Firearm Search:

Thousands Of Americans Are Gunned Down Each Year, But Few Die By Assault-Style Rifle:

In 2016, Baltimore's second-deadliest year on record, bullets claimed targets and bystanders alike:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

What Trump Doesn't Understand About Job Creation

Last Fall, presidential candidate Donald Trump said "I’ll be the greatest president for jobs that God ever created."  Then, at his inauguration, he said he would create 25 million jobs over the next decade.  "The most of any President." 

The only problem with those statements is: Who will fill all these jobs?

According to the latest employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of underutilized workers stands at 10.1 or roughly 16 million.  These are people that are unemployed and looking for work.  Those, who in frustration of not being able to find work, have just given up looking.  In addition, it includes people forced to work part time in lieu of finding a full time job.  It also includes people working in jobs below their skill, experience, or education levels.

Yet despite the 16 million workers needing to improve their current situation in the labor force, more than 5.5 million positions remain unfilled each month.  This according to the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). These are record levels since the BLS has been tracking this data in 2000 as noted by the following chart:

Click on Graphic to Enlarge
It's easy to see, that as jobs have been created since the end of the recession, the number of job openings left on the table keeps increasing.  The reason for this is something called the "skills gap", where employers are unable to match their job openings with the available skills in the under-employed labor force in their local areas. It's the same reason that, in Silicon Valley, 37 percent of all  high tech workers are not U.S. born, with the problem getting worse by the year, as noted by the fact that 74 percent of younger workers are foreign born.

The skills gap isn't just about high tech jobs.  In a survey of General Contractors last year, two-thirds said they were struggling to find "craft" workers.  Those in skilled labor jobs such as roofing, dry wall, heating and air conditioning, plumbers, electricians, etc.

The thing that Trump should seriously focus in on is the pool of workers in this country.  We need people with college degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) so that foreign-born workers don't keep taking these jobs in places like Silicon Valley.  We also need to promote trade schools, so we have an adequate number of plumbers and other skilled workers.  Jobs that may not be as "sexy" as some job-seekers may want, but that would be good paying and far better than being unemployed.

What's the good of creating high paying jobs if there is no one to fill them?  I simply don't see a formula for success in what Trump is trying to sell the country so far.  Perhaps we should subsidize STEM college education as a means of increasing the pool of high-tech workers?  The same would be true for trade schools.  The return in increased income tax revenues from higher paying jobs would greatly offset the cost of subsidizing education in these key fields.


Donald Trump: 'I’ll be the greatest president for jobs that God ever created':

Trump vows 25 million jobs, most of any president:

Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization:

Source of Graph:

37 percent of Silicon Valley foreign-born:

Two-Thirds of Contractors Have a Hard Time Finding Qualified Craft Workers to Hire Amid Growing Construction Demand, National Survey Finds:

Harvard Business Review: Employers Aren’t Just Whining – the “Skills Gap” Is Real:

America's persistent problem: Not enough skilled workers - Aug. 7, 2015:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Is Anti-Trump Sentiment Causing New Found Support for ObamaCare?

For the first time in any Pew Research Polling since 2010, the February approval rate of ObamaCare has scored higher than 50%:
Click on Image to Enlarge or See Reference Below
This is odd since not much news regarding ObamaCare has been positive.  Fewer people have signed up this year than last. Insurers are quitting the exchanges in droves.  One-third of the 3000 counties in the U.S. have only a single insurer to choose from.  Premiums went up an average of 23% this year.  So, what is driving this new support for a law that few liked until this year?

There is one big difference for ObamaCare in 2017 that may be helping push its popularity up in the polls.  Donald Trump.  It appears as if the continual promises to repeal and replace it is having the opposite effect on what has always been negative support for the Obama healthcare law.   I also believe that the delay in presenting a logical and useful alternative is also taking its toll. This same phenomenon is appearing in various other polls as well. See reference, below.  Go figure.

References: Health Policy Polling:

11 Biggest Problems With Obamacare | Daily Wire:

Year Six of the Affordable Care Act: Obamacare's Mounting Problems: