Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blog News

I have now allowed anyone to comment who feels like it, instead of the previous registered users. I have been taking a break from posting too much as there is little more than depressing economic news and I do not feel like being someone who takes credit for stating the obvious.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Gonna party like it's 1999

Actually stocks are at a low of two years earlier than that today. At the rate it will be more useful to blow your nose with shares of Citibank or GM than trade them.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Where your tax money goes

I try not to comment too often on news outside the scope of this blog, but today I found a real gem that illustrates there is no shortage of funding for colleges. Here's a quote of brilliance from the modern day Galileo and Copernicus combined:

"This is just the first study which was focused on the idea that men of a certain age view sex as a highly desirable goal, and if you present them with a provocative woman, then that will tend to prime goal-related responses," she told CNN.

Truly groundbreaking stuff there, Fiske. I have some ideas for your future writings such as "Thirsty people tend to drink water faster than non thirsty people" and "Catholicism and the Pope, a scholastic study on the Catholicism of the Papacy." Really, people are dying of malaria and our tax money goes to this?? Here's a study I am gonna work on, titled "Scantily Dressed Beautiful Woman Gets Attention." Time to get busy writing that grant proposal.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Scam Artist Emerges

The tiny Caribbean island of Antigua brings today's multibillion dollar fraud allegations. While this Stanford fellow's $8,000,000,000 fraud allegations pale in comparison to the $50,000,000,000 allegedly bilked from investors by Bernie Madoff, this is just one in a string of bad financial men busted in the last year and a half. All of these new allegations coming up now make me wonder where the SEC was all of these years. For all of the money they spent prosecuting Martha Stewart over a tiny fraction of these amounts one would surmise that they could spend some resources tracking down multibillion dollar frauds and ponzi schemes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I have a dream, that one day we will manufacture our own products

There's a joke I was told by a former coworker one that the best thing about having an economics degree is that one can tell the people in the unemployment line with them why they are out of work. Like a truly bored nerd, I decided to look at economic data from the Federal Reserve at 2AM and found this interesting little publication titled Industrial Production and Capacity. It shows a comparison with recent historical numbers and the utilization of industrial capacity by sector. Reading through it, one notices a lot of negative signs and that the lows for recent recording periods are above current numbers in most cases. This is a result of underutilizing the manufacturing ability in this country, which should be no shock to anyone who has purchased anything other than food and water in the past year. Finding American made products ranks in difficulty with writing a thesis on relativity, making it into the NBA as an armless midget, and draining the ocean with an eye dropper.

In case you wish to see data that will ensure you have a very lonely future, here is the chart

Friday, February 13, 2009

Finally some good news from the economy

Upon reaching 2,000 hits I decided I must post something to celebrate the growth of this fledgling blog. Well today I present to you some good news from the world's economy: that Russian oligarchs have lost so much money that their high end stores are closing. If only some of the wealth they stole from buying oil control during the transition from the Soviet Union would only find its way to improve the lot of their countrymen instead of purchasing yachts and English football teams would be nice.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Too tired to post

It looks like tomorrow will be the day the "stimulus package" passes the Senate. Then it is on to the conference committee to be worked out the differences and then revoted and to the president's desk.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Related the the post below

I found this gem on Failblog, it made me conflicted between laughing and crying.

It makes me even sadder to be unemployed and these two idiots are not.

Reason Idiocracy Will Become A Reality in Our Lifetimes No. 45123

Today I found this great story on the website Fark.com about the desire for Black firefighters to have the system of testing for promotions changed. According to the article, the claimants believe multiple choice testing to be disadvantageous to blacks, basing this on other studies showing Blacks tend to do worse on "high stakes" tests due to an inferior education. According to the attorney for the suing firefighters:

“This is systemic discrimination,” said the firefighters’ attorney, Dennis Thompson. “Selection rates for African-Americans are abysmally smaller than for white candidates.”

Two problems with this case come to mind. The first problem is that it is taking one result, lower test scores academically and assuming this to be the case for this specific case. I would venture to say that a multiple choice test to be a firefighter contains questions about, oh fighting fires. To compare results on this to say the SAT are disingenuous because the scope of the results are different. On the SAT there is a definite cultural bias towards upper class whites, if there were not the vocabulay section would not be emphasizing five hundred words working class people would never use such as crepuscular and obstreperous. Having not seen the fire fighters test I cannot say for certain whether they are asking questions about Chester Worthington III's resplendent day at the regatta, but I am going to go out on a limb here and think the answer's no.

The second problem is there is no defnition of what an abysmal rate of passage means. According to the article roughty one sixth of the fire fighters are Black (700/4200). That means in proportion to their population, sixteen percent should be in the higher ranks asuming there is relative parity in promotion. With affirmative action, the percentage is probably higher so let's say that a quarter of the passages are accomplished by Blacks, the argument could stil be made that the respresentation is too low because 75% of those passing are not black. It's a statistical slippery slope, because the population is small regardless of results, so the case can always be made no matter how the test goes. Further, I am going to go on a limb here and say that most fire fighters are not academically inclined, and I mean that in no disrepect, so the test probably is tailored entirely to be skills based. I don't know what how one can complain about the results on a test over how to operate machinery, basic management, and occupational skills.

Finally, I am troubled by the basic premise of the argument-that Blacks are less capable of being fire chiefs than Whites. By changing the use of a test because of performance, the Fire Department will be giving in to that statement. They will be doing so not because the test has not worked, but because one segment of society claims it is too hard. A better solution might be for all individuals trying to get promoted, whether Black or White or Gay Eskimos, to study and try to find out why they have struggled on the test. I am going out on a limb here and assuming there are Black fire chiefs who can help out up and coming Black firefighters to move up because they already know how to advance in the system.

In conclusion, this case creates one more example of trying to move the goalposts closer and closer as a society. Whether we stop handing out letter grades, promoting failing students, and lowering standards, the results are the same:a societal loss as incompetent people move up and crowd out the market for talent. It is little wonder our students perform at the same level as such powerhouses of science and industry as Slovakia and Azerbaijan.

The future if this continues.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Interesting stories not being covered in the mainstream media

Since the bailout and the Obama presidency are taking all of the headlines, I have decided to post some stories from outside of the normal scope of media coverage. Give your thoughts on them.

Sri Lanka comes closer to ending 20-plus year civil war

Political violence in Venezuela as pro-Chavez forces attack the Vatican's embassy and earlier violence against a synagogue

Farmers protest falling prices in Europe

Floods in Australia wash snakes and crocodiles onto streets

Those are just a few stories that are interesting in this world that are scarcely reported. The flooding in Australia reminds me of the 2002 European floods which drenched large parts of Central Europe.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I can finally call myself cyclically unemployed!

After applying for jobs since before the layoff, let's put the start date at Dec. 1, I can announce the results of over two months of sending out resumes, calling, job fairs, interviews with recruiters, etc. In this span I have received one interview for a job paying under $200 a week, one call from a warehouse manager asking why I applied with my resume, a three hours after applying rejection letter, and one job posting that turned out to be a scam site. Good thing we spent $700,000,000,000 to stabilize the economy!