Job-killing regulations

September 30, 2011

Just a quick one here.

Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps tabs on why people become “separated” from their jobs and why they’re filing unemployment claims. Here’s a sample chart, with data from the second quarter of 2010 and the first two quarters of 2011 – So, how come you\'re filing for UI?

Note, for example, in 2011 Q2, there were a little over 231,000 initial claims for UI. Of those, about 1,500 were due to “government regulations/intervention.” More than 19,000 were due to a lack of work, and about 13,000 were caused by some kind of financial problems with the employer.

No word on how many were caused by fake global warming scares, same-sex marriage, or the fact that Barack Obama is a Muslim.



A masterful performance

September 29, 2011

Carpenter deals

I’ll get back to politics/policy, history, art, music, and the rest later. This morning I’m enjoying not only the fact that the Cardinals have recovered and made it to October, but that Chris Carpenter last night reminded everyone what a terrific pitcher he is.

Carpenter has had a tough season. He started 1 – 7, and for the most part, his teammates didn’t give him much in the way of run support. In his 9 losses over the season, the offense either didn’t score or scored only 1 run in 7 of those. Cy Young couldn’t have won with that little offense behind him.

But his teammates stepped up last night, staking him to a 5-0 lead in the first inning.

Carpenter was excellent. A complete-game shutout, only 2 hits and 1 walk, 11 strikeouts, and total command throughout.

The Cardnal fan in me loves that they are in the post-season, but the basebal fan in me really loves watching this kind of performance.

Before the game, talking with reporters, Carpenter responded to a question about the win-or-go-home situation the Cardinals were in last night. He responded, “Don’t worry; I’ll handle this.”


Ironically, this marvelous performance came during the least exciting game of the night. Four teams – Cardinals, Braves, Red Sox, and Rays – went into the night battling for the wild card in their respective divisions. The Cardinals cruised. The Braves went into extra innings against the Phillies and came up short. The Red Sox completed an historic implosion and lost, 1986-style, when their closer couldn’t hold a lead with two outs in the 9th against one of the worst teams in professional baseball. Three minutes later, the Rays finished fighting back from a 7-run deficit and walked off their home field in the 12th winners against the Yankees.

Cardinals/Phils begins Saturday. BTW, the Cardinals are the only NL team with a winning record against Philadelphia. We’ll see . . . .


2 back, 4 to play

September 24, 2011

Thursday night, after the ugliest inning since Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the Cardinals found themselves two games behind the Braves for the wild card slot, with six games to play. I would normally provide a recap, but it’s just too painful, which is also why I didn’t post afterwards. All I could do was swear at the screen, and you don’t want to read that.

They dug an even deeper hole for themselves last night, when the bullpen once again blew up. A 1-1 tie became a 5-1 loss, and with the Braves beating the Nationals, the Cardinals were three games back.

Today, they rallied, sorta, courtesy of the Cubs’ own reliever, and parlayed a walk and a wild pitch into a win. Atlanta lost, so the margin is back to 2.

Adron Chambers scores the winner

If the Braves go 2-2 from here on out (we’re all counting on the Phillies to knock them out this coming week), the Cardinals need to sweep to get a tie and a playoff game.

No more margin for error (if you follow the Cardinals, you see the bitter pun).

And Sunday may be Albert Pujols’ last home game as a Cardinal, as he goes into free agency after the season.


Job creators – US military, Chinese military, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s . . .

September 22, 2011

Good has a post – with a certain tongue-in-cheek element – on who employs the most people in the world: The World\'s 10 Largest Employers

Note the comment on the working conditions at Hon Hai Precision, where your i-things are made.


Just a note on the current debate about wasted spending

September 22, 2011

As you may be aware, there is a partisan kerfuffle going on in DC around the collapse of the solar energy firm Solyndra, which received a federal loan guarantee of more than $500 million, pushed by the White House, then went belly up. Capitol Hill Rs smell a Whitewater moment, and the House Oversight and Government Reform (I have to stifle a laugh every time I speak that name) Committee is doing its darndest to whip up a froth.

More on Solyndra later, but in terms of wasted spending, take a look at this report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan – Read it and weep, or gnash your teeth

I note the opening graf of the Executive Summary:

At least $31 billion, and possibly as much as $60 billion, has been lost to contract waste and fraud in America’s contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Much more will turn into waste as attention to continuing operations wanes, as U.S. support for projects and programs in Iraq and Afghanistan declines, and as those efforts are revealed as unsustainable.

The next graf, btw, states that $31B to $60B is “conservative.”

Add the tens of thousands of lives lost, and you get tragedy on top of outrage.


A mote of economic wisdom from Elizabeth Warren

September 21, 2011

A sort of economic E Pluribus Unum, y’know?

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that maurauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory… Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea — God Bless! Keep a Big Hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

Here’s the YouTube clip –

If more people start talking like this, perhaps we can get to a Novus ordo seclorum.


Two interesting tales of higher education and future economic security in the US

September 21, 2011

NYT has a piece today (thanks to Bruce Katz at Brookings for pointing this out) describing how college admissions offices are looking harder for kids who have money – Hey kid, show us the money

And here’s the Inside Higher Ed survey referenced by the Times – Good fit means has dough

Meanwhile, Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square blog has a post showing that the only Americans who saw income growth in the first decade of the 21st Century (can’t help myself – when the Rs were in-charge of the federal government) were those with advanced college degrees – Degree equals money

So, at a time when it’s evermore important to have a college education to build any kind of economic security, colleges are looking more and more at admitting people who already have the money. Anyone else see a downward spiral beginning?