The November jobs report, which featured headlines of 203,000 jobs added and a 7.0% unemployment rate (both seasonally adjusted), featured something for everybody. Whether one is a starry-eyed optimist, a somewhat-hopeful realist, or an eeyore, if one looks hard enough, one can find it this time around.

I’ll start with the essentially-unqualified good, the employment survey. 203,000 seasonally-adjusted non-farm jobs added, with 196,000 of them in the private sector, would be great…if the economy were recovered from the Great Recession. The manufacturing sector made a significant contribution to that, with a 17,000 add. The average hours worked per week per job was a bit ahead of both last month and last year, which allowed the average weekly pay to also increase slightly.

Not all is completely rosy in the establishment survey, however. Jobs that tend to be low paying or less than permanent accounted for much of the seasonally-adjusted increase – restaurants and bars added 17,900 workers, general merchandise stores added 13,800 workers, and temporary help services added 16,400 workers. One would have hoped the seasonal adjustments would have accounted for the additional hires to handle the Christmas shopping season.

That leads me to the household survey. While the seasonally-adjusted labor force participation rate recovered modestly from October to 63.0%, it is still lower than both September, bo 0.2 percentage points, and last November, by 0.6 percentage points. The returning federal workers accounted for nearly half of the 818,000 increase in the number of employed and more than the entirety of the 365,000 decrease in the unemployed.

Once again, there was a significant divergence between the BLS and Gallup’s measures of adult unemployment. While the BLS says adult unemployment fell from a seasonally-unadjusted 6.8% in October to a seasonally-unadjusted 6.4% in November, Gallup says it went up from a seasonally-unadjusted 7.3% in October to a seasonally-unadjusted 8.2% in November. Somebody has to be wrong.

Going back to September using the BLS numbers, to take out the effects of the partial government shutdown, shows almost no improvement. The number of employed increased by only 87,000, while 265,000 departed the workforce.

Lest one thinks it’s all retirees leaving, allow me to give you the LFPR among the 25-54 year olds, the cream of the workforce. It was a seasonally-adjusted 80.9% and not-seasonally-adjusted 81.1%. Outside of last month, the former is the lowest since November 1984, while the latter is the lowest November since 1983.

Tomorrow you get an extra dose of DaTechGuy on an extra station.

UPDATE: I’ll be joining Conservatively speaking on WCRN in the 8 AM hour as well. so make sure you tune in!

At 9 AM I will be on Business, Politics & Lifestyles on WCRN AM 830 till 10 AM.

I don’t actually know if I’ll be hosting or be a guest for Gary Goldman but click that links above and tune in anyway and we’ll both find out. Update: I’ll be a guest)

What I DO know if that at noon I’ll be in Needham at the Money Matters studios for this week’s DaTechguy on DaRadio

We’ll talk to Robert Stacy McCain about the Lunenburg rape hoax and the death of Mandela (including the bits of his life people want to forget).

Then will come the Panel, with me and Joe Mangiacotti returning from his absence Baldilocks from the Magnificent Seven, Janet Aldrich  of CRNews and in the Bob Beckel Chair our old Marxist friend Dominic Nanni.

Jjoin the conversation at 888-9-fedora.

Listen in live on FTR Radio

or via our Tune-in Stream for the Money Matters Radio Network

And of course there are the terrestrial stations

WBNW Concord Ma 1120 AM FLAGSHIP

WPLM 1390 AM Plymouth MA

WESO 970 AM Southbridge MA

Oh and some bad news, due to a stroke in the family of the owners of the Pottery Paintin place we will have to reschedule our live broadcast from there.  Please remember the family in your prayers

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Olimometer 2.52

Less than a day to go for this week.

9 $25 Tip jar hits away from the finish line.

Help us end the year strong, by hitting DaTipJar below.

One of the first things that they teach you in Economics 101 is that “Economics (according to the classical definition) is the study of the allocation of scarce resources which have alternative uses.”

In short, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”  We cannot have our cake and eat it to.

Professors of Economics continually drill into their students two important principles:  (1.) The notion that there are “Opportunity Costs” associated with everything that we do, and (2.) Secondly, that is important to remember the concept of “Trade-Offs.”

Simply put an “opportunity costs” represents the price that one pays when they decide to purchase an item or a material good.  When you make a particular acquisition of a good or a service, you then forgo the next best potential alternative.

For example, if you decide to buy a luxury car, you no longer have that money at your disposal to buy clothing or something else; with the particular purchase of that car, you have forgone the possibility of spending that money in other ways.  Furthermore, instead of buying that luxury car, you could have chosen to go shopping with your wife or significant other (shopping is an activity that pleases this writer’s wife to no end…).  With the money that you spent on that luxury car, you could have chosen to spend it in other ways such as seeing many, many movies or plays.  But, because the study of economics revolves primarily around the question of resource scarcity, you quickly learn that you must wisely choose how you will allocate your limited resources (in this case money).

What always has puzzled this writer is that our national representatives seem to be so clueless when it comes to “basic economic principles.”

Why does it always seem that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats that serve in both Houses of Congress never seem to understand the basic concept of “opportunity costs?”

Every two years or every four years during mid-term and Presidential elections, we listen to the various aspirants for political office tell us how they increase social services, finance costly military expenditures, and reduce federal outlays – all without either raising taxes or strangling businesses with new and costly governmental regulations.  This brings us to the concept of “trade-offs.”

Families make “trade-offs” all the time.  Because time, treasure, and talents are scarce you have to make hard choices with regards to what you may acquire (or cut back on) at a given time.  Families may have to choose between going away on a nice vacation and sending one of their children to music camp.

Why is it that Washington does not understand the principles of “opportunity costs” or “trade-offs” when they are busy passing sweeping new regulations that inhibit economic activity?

Politicians make it seem that all that the Federal Government has to do is tax and spend and that every social problem or ill will automatically vanish.

The saddest thing about this whole political posturing and campaigning that takes place every two to four years is that we foolishly their promises every election cycle!

Shame on us!!!

Did not Benjamin Franklin warn us after the Constitutional Convention of 1787 when asked what type of government that they had given the new country with this reply – “We have given you a republican form of government if you can keep it.”

Did not John Adams state that there was never a democracy in history that did not commit suicide?

Are we not committing suicide with this huge albatross around our necks known as the national debt?  At the time of this writing, our national debt is quickly approaching 17 Trillion Dollars!  Why is it that despite the party that occupies the White House or the party that controls both houses of Congress that our national debt continues to rise unabated?

Perhaps our problem is with the very nature of running for political office itself.

Politicians do what they know they must do in order to get elected.  It is estimated that only 3% of the American population will ever run for political office even once during their lifetime.  It takes the average person running for political office on average two to six election losses before they experience their first political victory.  What then happens by default is that we reward people for their political perseverance and not necessarily for possessing keen economics acumen.

If our children are going to experience anything near like the Spiritual, Social, Political and Economic prosperity that we as people have enjoyed for more than two centuries, then we MUST quickly get a grip and work to get our financial house in order.

WE MUST DEMAND from our would be politicians (dare we say future statesmen and stateswomen?) that they seriously articulate plans to reduce our gargantuan 16 to 17 Trillion Dollar Debt before they every receive our vote.  In this way – and while there is still time – just maybe FISCAL SANITY CAN BE  RESTORED TO OUR REPUBLIC.

Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the imprisonment of Alan P. Gross, a subcontractor for the US government’s Agency for International Development. Humberto Fontova points out that,

In Cuba Alan Gross had worked closely with Cuban Freemasons and Cuban Jewish groups. His main contact José Manuel Collera Vento was in fact the “Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Cuba.” Collera was also–SURPRISE!!!–a KGB-trained agent of the Stalinist regime.

Alan Gross made a total of seven trips to Cuba and worked with Cuban Jewish delegations in Havana, Santiago and Camaguey. Every head of every Cuban Jewish group that Alan Gross worked with and befriended him testified against him in “court.”

The witnesses knew they had no choice; either they testified against Gross, or their lives were over.

Alan Gross, 64, has lost over 100lbs during the course of his jail term, and has a large lump growing on his back, which under the “excellent free healthcare” Cubans endure is considered one of the “chronic illnesses that are typical of his age.”

Gross wrote to Pres. Obama this week, asking for his personal intervention,

The State Department on Monday called on the Cuban government to release Gross. In late November, 66 senators, led by Senator Patrick Leahy, sent Obama a letter asking him to “act expeditiously to take whatever steps are in the national interest” to obtain Gross’ release. White House press secretary Jay Carney said in February that Obama has “followed Mr Gross’ case with concern and urges his release”.

Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Mario Diaz-Balart have written to the White House on Gross’ behalf. Even Jimmy Carter and Jessie Jackson tried and failed.

As Mary O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal reported, Cuba wants “the release of several Cuban intelligence officers convicted in 2001 of spying on the U.S.” in exchange for Gross’ freedom, rather than a ransom.

But Gross is not the only foreigner in Cuba’s jails:

  • Panamanian businessman Nessin Abadi, in his early 70s and owner of the large Audiofoto chain of electronics stores, jailed without charges in Cuba for over a year.
  • Another Panamanian, Alejandro Abood, then 50, was arrested in Havana in 2001. Abood was released five years ago.
  • Stephen Purvis, a British businessman, was detained in Cuba for 15 months. His company, Coral Capital, was behind the Bellomonte Golf and Country Club development, which lost £10.6 million. Purvis spent 16 months in jail and was released last July, along with Amado Fakhre, who was the company’s executive director.
  • Canadians Sarkis Yacoubian, sentenced to nine years in a prison in June, and his cousin and business partner, Krikor Bayassalian, a Lebanese citizen, who was sentenced to four years in prison.
  • Still awaiting trial is another Canadian, Cy Tokmakjian, who was arrested in 2011.

Purvis asserts that “there are many more in the system than is widely known.” The businessmen’s crime? Trying to collect on the moneys they are owed.

Pres. Obama is calling for an updated US policy on Cuba, and has eased travel and remittance rules for Cuban Americans. In exchange for what?

Cuba’s Communist regime continues to oppress its people – with 761 political arrests just last month – it extorts and jails foreigners, and it’s our hemisphere’s go-to place for sex tourism with minors.

Any easement in relations with Cuba is a failure of Obama’s foreign policy.

Last week, I was talking with some friends and one of them brought up the Washington Redskins mascot controversy. When I suggested that the team’s name be changed to the ‘Washington Negroes,’ it brought the house down.

From there, someone brought up the old Roots miniseries and we got to talking about Alex Haley (1921-1992) the author of the book on which the miniseries was based. In 1978, Haley was sued for plagiarism by Harold_Courlander and the plaintiff won. One of my companions wondered why he hadn’t just published the book as a work of fiction in the first place.

It was then that I was reminded of the historical novel The Dahomean, written by Frank Yerby (1916-1991) and published in 1971. Set in nineteenth-century Virginia, the initial scenario has two white farmers deciding what to name their newly-purchased slave. The slave tells them his African name when asked and speaks only rudimentary English–obviously fresh from his seaborne transport.

The rest of the novel consists of the slave’s memories of his life as a free man in Africa–in the Kingdom of Dahomey. It is fantastic–a great work. (At my first reading of the book I was about twelve years old. I didn’t read it again until I was in my forties, curious to see if my fledgling judgment of the book’s quality held up against my adult reading sensibilities. It did and remains my favorite novel.)

Undoubtedly, Haley was aware of Yerby–an accomplished writer at the time of the publication of The Dahomean–and was also aware of how little commercial success The Dahomean had garnered. (In Yerby’s “A Note to the Reader,” he acknowledges basing his fiction on Melville J. Herskovits’ Dahomey: An Ancient West African Kingdom.) Whether the contemporaneous public showed little interest in such a topic or whether Yerby’s publishers did little to promote Yerby’s novel is unknown. But I suspect that Haley didn’t want a similar obscurity for Roots–published in 1976–and, to that end, decided to pawn it off as an autobiography. No one would find out, he thought. He was correct…for a while. But the truth came out, as it always does.

As for The Dahomean, I’ve always thought it would make a decent movie. In this climate of political correctness, however, the production would certainly have to be independently financed because Yerby’s Dahomeans are, indeed, not politically correct.

As for the present-day climate of racial division and blame for the sins of dead ancestors, Mr. Yerby addresses these things for his own time and I’ll let him speak for himself.

The thoughtful reader will observe that the writer has not attempted to make the Dahomeans either more or less than what they were. He is aware that truth is an uncomfortable quality; that neither the racist, the liberal, nor the advocates of Black Power and/or Pride will find much support for their dearly held and perhaps, to them, emotionally and psychologically necessary myths herein.

So be it. Myths solve nothing, arrange nothing. But then, as the protagonist of this novel is driven in the end to put it, perhaps there are no viable solutions or arrangements in life for any of the desperate problems facing humanity in an all too hostile world.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

 

Update:  (DTG) After reading this post all it reminded me of this one at the Corner.

Update:  (JAO) The URL of my personal blog has been updated.

I was about to start a piece on the latest Obamacare trap when I spotted Charles Davis story at Memeorandum and my Irony detector started exploding.

You need to let the person being interviewed explain why he is terrible, which is more easily done when he thinks you are stupid or on his side.

What I did looked and felt like an entry-level job in the media. And I enjoyed it—I liked going up to any old white guy in a suit and asking him to explain in his own words why he’s destroying the country. I felt as if I had sort of made it, as much as an English major can. I wasn’t living at home, I got to carry a microphone, and my work was broadcast over the radio. To an outsider looking in, I almost looked like a respectable person.

The problem was I wasn’t being compensated for any of that work or my veneer of respectability.

What? I thought it was those “old white guys” who were ruining the country, not the people who sent you to show why they were so terrible?

As the article continues we discover this is not unusual for the left. Mother Jones, the American Prospect, Common Cause, The New Republic, the Washington monthly, Democracy Now! the Nation all liberal lions and foes of the evil exploiters like WalMart were all doing and paying (or not paying) the same.

Some claimed ignorance:

Robert Reich served as labor secretary under Bill Clinton and is outspoken in his support for a living wage. But when I asked him about the trend of entry-level jobs being relabeled “internships” and being stripped of the pay, benefits, and legal rights they once offered recent college grads (by some estimates, half of the estimated 1.5 million interns in America are unpaid), he professed ignorance.

“This is not a topic I’ve given much thought,” said Reich.

At the New Republic back in October they defended it:

Yes, Young Writers Should Give Their Work Away for Free It’s sad but true: There’s no other way to make it

Picture for a moment if Sam Walton or his successors wrote a piece called “Young shelf stockers should give their work away for free…” The howl of outrage led by the publications above would be the only story in the county.

But the excuse that really caught my eye came from the Washington Monthly

“The reason we don’t pay interns is that we’re a small nonprofit operation and we can’t afford it,” explained Paul Glastris, editor of the Washington Monthly. “We think it’s a valuable experience—it certainly was for me, having started in this business as an unpaid intern at the Washington Monthly.”


Oh they don’t pay workers because they can’t afford it
Mr. Glastris let me tell you a story…

This blog started a week after I lost my job. This week we begin our 6th year. In February for the first time I started drawing a regular pay of $305 weekly before taxes when my readers were willing to pay it to cover the mortgage. In November in a leap of faith I brought on seven writers (Marathon Pundit, Linda Szugyi, Baldilocks, Fausta, AP “Lady Liberty” Dillon, Pastor George Kelly and Steve Eggleston). This is something any reader of this blog already knows

What they (and you Mr. Glastris) don’t know is before I extended that first offer I called up several friends in the business to establish what a fair price range per word was for freelance work to see if I could afford it. I had an idea of how much I figured I could raise my weekly goal and still (hopefully) make it. If the cost was beyond what I thought I could afford. The plan would have stopped right there.

Based on what they told me I made my offers based on them delivering a single piece of 250 words once a week. That is what each of my writers are asked to deliver and that’s what they are paid for. It is on that figure that I increased my weekly goal with readers by just over 11% to a whopping $340 weekly to see the market could bear that price and signed each of my writers for a period of three months to see if it can be done.

That is how capitalism works

My exit question for the left is this: If this blog expect to pay its writers a fair freelance wage when I’m barely making my mortgage how is it that you are OK with doing otherwise or needed Mr. Davis’ piece to change your ways?

Update: Stacy McCain got to this story before me and noted some serious irony

Though it does not pay its professionally experienced interns a dime, Salon (which has published my work in the past) has had the chutzpah to run a number of stories on the plight of unpaid workers, such as, “‘Intern Nation’: Are We Exploiting a Generation of Workers?” and “Unpaid and Sexually Harassed: The Latest Intern Injustice.” The company did not respond to a request for comment.

(The saddest part about this? Although it doesn’t pay its interns a red cent, Salon has still managed to lose millions of dollars a year, every year, since the days of 56K-baud dial-up modems. But, hey, stupid liberals get the “glamour” of working for nothing at a money-losing lefty blog whose star writer is Joan Walsh, so there’s that.)

While offering some advice:

as a shameless capitalist blogger, I’m going to suggest readers shop for fabulous savings at Amazon (from which I receive a small commission) and also include a PayPal “donate” button, so readers can pay me for the pleasure of mocking your stupidity.

Full disclosure Stacy McCain was one of the people I consulted with to establish my per-word rate for the writers

Update 2:  Do conservatives do better?  Well Newsbusters does and calls them out: (emphasis mine)

MRC has long paid its interns, and is presently paying $11 an hour. For so-called progressive organizations that demand higher minimum wages across society, it’s hard to fathom the depth of their hypocrisy on unpaid or barely-paid interns — especially when they have top staff making six-figure salaries.

You can’t claim “measly little nonprofit” status with that kind of wage at the top.

Update 3:  Yid with Lid:

As America approached the holiday buying season Mother Jones writers continually attacked Walmart, the country’s biggest retailer for paying some of its workers at the federal minimum wage level $7.25 an hour.  While there are many reasons to disagree with the Mother Jones stance, perhaps the biggest reason was revealed on Monday—even at $7.25 an hour, Walmart is paying 21% more than Mother Jones pays its lowest level employees.  That’s assuming the magazine’s employees are working only 40 hours a week, which according to the report is a big assumption.

We’ll be hearing more from the Lid later today

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Tuesday and we are only $47 toward our weekly goal of $340 to cover the Mortgage and Da Magnificent Seven I mentioned above.

In November we missed our goal by 13% being short both for the mortgage and for the Seven and unlike the liberal sites mentioned above we don’t have liberal interests keeping us going or internet millionaires keeping the spigots open. Our funding comes from the Tip Jar Hitters and readers. If we deliver (and if they can afford it) they hit DaTipjar and we make it, if we don’t deliver or they can’t afford it, we don’t.

It’s that simple.

Help us make it, please consider hitting DaTipJar below.

We are also offering sponsorships of both the Magnificent Seven & Da Magnificent Panel now is an excellent time to jump on board, contact me here for more details

Saturday  marked the end of the first month of my Magnificent Seven writing on DaTechGuy Blog and what a month it has been.

 

You have been treated to topics like Church history from Pastor George Kelly Common Core’s Kobayashi Maru from AP (Lady Liberty) Dillon , a bit of Venezuela from Fausta, Indoctrination vs education from Baldilocks The sanity of homeschooling from Linda Szugyi , What Smoking Taxes actually do to a culture from Marathon Pundit and the Left’s Lawfare in Wisconsin from Steve Eggleston and today you will get one more piece from Steve rounding out the contributions from my Magnificent Seven.

Unlike the litigious bloggers of the Huffington Post my seven have not just been promised exposure, each has been paid for their work since day one.

That’s why AOL will never come calling with $315 Million or even 2 Million because if they did they’d not only would they have to pay my writers, but I’d likely just start a new even bigger venture along these same lines with the dough.

So make sure that you check out all of the Magnificent posts by my Magnificent Seven.

Update: Who knew I was so far ahead The Exploited Laborers of the Liberal Media such as at the New Republic:

The New Republic is another liberal outlet with a problematic labor record. Owned by a co-founder of Facebook worth more than $600 million, the magazine is currently hiring interns whose responsibilities include “conducting research for editors,” as well as “pitching and writing blog posts and web pieces.” Previous experience in journalism is “preferred, but not imperative.”

TNR used to advertise that its internships “are full-time, unpaid, and based in the DC office,” but that language was removed soon after the magazine became aware of this story. Spokesperson Annie Augustine told me that despite the change in language, “there has not been a change in policy.”

Right now DaMagnificent Seven is paid out of da same Tip Jar that pays the mortgage, in November we were short.  You can get December on Track by hitting DaTipJar below

Olimometer 2.52

We are also offering sponsorships of both the Magnificent Seven & Da Magnificent Panel now is an excellent time to jump on board, contact me here for more details

 

For this post, I collected a whole lotta links on Education Expert Stupidity.  At the start, I was all geared up for apoplexy.  I’m talking outrage of the eye-twitching, blood vessel-bursting kind.

Writing is a journey, however, and the destination is often a surprise.  Certainly, idiocy is in no short supply.  But at the end of my research, the expected outrage is strangely absent.

Perhaps my own experiences, first as a student and then a parent, have already inured me to the shock.  As far back as I can remember, public education has stunk.  Why, I remember way back in nineteen-diggity-four, how my charming middle school social studies teacher defined political ideology for us young bowls of mush:

“Liberal – generous

Conservative – stingy”

Yep.  And she didn’t even have that handy-dandy Common Core standard to rely on.  She didn’t need it, because our public school curricula were already drained of actual content.  Just pop open your child’s social studies textbook, like this one, and you’ll see what I mean.

Common Core is bad stuff, but it’s not ruining education.  It’s just standardizing and accelerating the ongoing ruination.

The biggest change is in our sense of smell.  Our olfactory nerves have been activated, and we are finally noticing the stench.  And do you know what?  We have the Gun Control and Common Core crowds to thank for that.

So let me be the first to officially say, “thank you!” Thank you, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, for trying to defend your curricula by insulting the soccer moms that get Democrats elected.

Thank you, low-level bureaucrats, for continuing to act like bullies in the age of the iphone and citizen journalism.

Thank you, unicorn-riding totalitarians, for showing us how far you are willing to go in order to kick that stubborn gun culture into submission.

We frogs had been quietly simmering in our baths, but not so much anymore.  We are kind of done with you people.

Here are some more reasons why we are done:

Category One:  Public School Curricula a.k.a. The Dog’s Dinner

  1. Creepy Uncle Sam wants you to know that the government is just like one big happy family!
  2. Don’t tell your parents about this assignment because it is guaranteed to anger at least half of them!
  3. A new 4th grade primer explains why only racists wouldn’t vote for Barry.
  4. This 8th grade definition of conservatism makes less sense than “stingy.”
  5. IKEA furniture assembly instructions are easier than Common Core math.
  6. Seriously.
  7. The book 1984 is too enlightening, and not nearly disturbing enough for our young impressionables.
  8. Stuffy parents have a problem with reading assignments that include the F bomb.
  9. Also pornographic material.  Parents just don’t like it.
  10. Constitution, schmonstitution!
  11. With the child already indoctrinated in 4th grade to throw out the Constitution for his safety, he should be ready for this assignment in 6th grade.
  12. When you know that the left loves deconstructionism, it makes perfect sense to discuss the Gettysburg Address without mentioning the Civil War.
  13. This article is pro-Common Core, but notice how understanding and restating a story’s plot is out-of-fashion.  In fashion:  making up an email from a character’s point of view!  This nonsense is hailed as “critical thinking,” but it is actually another fine example of deconstruction because the reader’s interpretation and creativity is more important than the author’s meaning and intent.

Category Two:  Tyrants R Us

  1. First off, many anti-gun links are above.  They are myriad, but Mr. Mitchell collected many of them in this post.  From key chains to NRA t-shirts to toys to breakfast pastries, educators are coming after them like a Terminator hunting Sarah Connor.
  2. This anti-gun incident deserves its very own spot:  you have a concealed-carry permit, Mom?  You are banned!
  3. Who can forget the infamous lunch that Wasn’t Good Enough?
  4. What happens when the paperwork is more important than people.
  5. What happens when caloric math is more important than people.
  6. You can’t have your kid.
  7. You can’t either.
  8. No kid for you!
  9. Also, stop visiting the school so much, parents.  You are not wanted.
  10. Just drop the kids off in a timely manner, so we won’t have to fine you.
  11. And make sure all their absences are approved, so we won’t have to jail you.

No doubt, this represents only the tip of the iceberg.  Kind readers, please add your own links or personal stories of Education Expert Stupidity to my humble list.  And have a great week!

illinois signBy John Ruberry

On the day before Thanksgiving word trickled out that the bipartisan legislative committee that has been working since June on a fix for Illinois’ worst-funded-in-the-nation public pension system has finally completed their work.

Except only the insiders knew the details of the plan to erase the $100 billion pension deficit.

The outline of the fix became public when member of the General Assembly were briefed on the bill on Black Friday–they have two more days to decide how to vote.  According to AP, the pension system will be fully-funded in 2044.

I said briefed. Where is the bill?

The Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank,  is suspicious of the fix and wants to know more:

From CBS Chicago:

“No legislation has been released. No financial analyses have been released,” CEO John Tillman said. “But of the details that have been shared, it is clear this ‘deal’ will not solve Illinois’ $100 billion pension crisis. In fact, it will make it worse.”

That’s the way things are done in Illinois.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner blasted the pension deal in a statement released yesterday.

In the early 1990’s, Senate President John Cullerton [a Chicago Democrat] was on a committee of 10 legislators who inserted language into a pension bill that allowed 23 government union bosses to collect an extra $56 million from municipal pension funds. According to the Chicago Tribune, “the changes became law with no public debate among state legislators, and, more importantly, no cost analysis.”

Sound familiar?

A few years ago, the legislature approved a workers compensation law that was highly touted for its bipartisan “reforms.” Despite the acclaim it received at the time, in the end it accomplished very little. Illinois’ workers compensation system remains uncompetitive with neighboring states and our economy continues to suffer.

The Democrats enjoy super-majorities in the General Assembly. How did that happen?

This will sound familiar too.

Here  is what NBC 5 Chicago’s Ward Room blog had to say about the decennial remap in 2011:

And as the legislators’ deadline draws near, still others are upset at the brief window for public input. Public hearings were held Saturday and Sunday.

Illinois House Minority leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) called it “disingenuous” for House Democrats to release their plans just two days before a public hearing on the matter.

Prairie State residents suffer under the second-highest unemployment rate in the Midwest. Illinois has a backlog of $8 billion in unpaid bills. The Land of Lincoln’s credit rating is the lowest in the union. 

With more transparency, things could only improve in America’s fifth most-populous state.

Last week, the New York Post‘s John Crudele broke the story that the Census Bureau, which conducts the Current Population Survey (CPS) that is the basis for the unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), has been falsifying the data since 2010. Curdele interviewed a person who was caught by the Census Bureau in 2010 simply making up data, with the employee claiming his superiors told him to do so because his region was not successfully interviewing enough people for the survey. According to an anonymous source, that effort intensified in the months leading up to the 2012 election, with September 2012’s data specifically falsified to President Barack Obama’s favor, and continues to the present time.

These allegations are currently being investigated by both the House Oversight Committee and the Inspector General of the Census Bureau, with the BLS also quite interested in them.

One place they can start is comparing what came out of the CPS to a measure of unemployment conducted by Gallup, started in January 2010. There are a couple of key differences between the CPS and Gallup which make a comparison a bit harder:

– While the CPS uses a reference week that includes the 12th of the month (5th of the month in November), Gallup uses a 30-day rolling average.
– The CPS surveys (or claims to survey) 60,000 people age 16 and over, while over the course of each 30-day rolling average, Gallup surveys 30,000 adults.

Fortunately, the BLS releases, as part of its dataset, the data from the portion of the CPS that covers adults, or about 57,500 surveyed out of approximately 153,000,000 considered part of the labor force. That allows an apples-to-apples comparison:

Gallup-CPS

For the most part, the CPS measure of adult unemployment is significantly lower than Gallup’s measure. How significant? Let’s take a look at Gallup’s measure on the day that puts the CPS reference day right in the middle of the rolling average, the 27th day of the month (20th for November and also December to avoid an artificial post-Christmas spike). The CPS unemployment was calculated by dividing the number of unemployed by the number considered to be in the workforce, so I could get much closer than to the nearest tenth of a percentage point reported. The raw data was not available for Gallup’s measure of unemployment, so I took the closest possible number to the CPS measure that still rounded to Gallup’s tenth of a percentage point reported.

Gallup-CPS divergence

Polls, which is what the CPS and Gallup measures really are, come with a margin of error, within which the true value can be expected either 90% or 95% of the time. For the CPS, the 90%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.20 percentage points and the 95%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.24 percentage points. For Gallup, the 90%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.28 percentage points and the 95%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.34 percentage points.

Two polls are considered to be in good agreement when their values are within each others’ margin of error. Meanwhile at least one poll has to be wildly incorrect when the difference between the two is more than the sums of their margin of error. Out of 46 months’ worth of data:

– 18 months saw Gallup’s and CPS’s measures of unemployment disagree by more than the combined 90%-confidence margin of error of 0.49 percentage points, with 17 months having Gallup’s measure higher.
– 8 months saw the measures of unemployment disagree by between 0.28 percentage points (Gallup’s 90%-confidence margin of error) and 0.49 percentage points, with another 3 months seeing a disagreement between 0.20 percentage points (CPS’s 90% confidence margin of error) and 0.28 percentage points.
– 17 months saw the measures of unemployment in “good agreement”, disagreeing by less than 0.20 percentage points.

When two polls wildly disagree more than they are in “good agreement”, one of them has to be wrong. Given the disagreement has been almost invariably in the administration’s favor, and there already was a proven round of fakery in the CPS, it sure looks like the official measure of unemployment has been cooked longer than a burnt turkey.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Saturday the last day of the month and the week.

Most important of all it is the end of the first month of my Magnificent Seven Bloggers.  Later today the final post of the month for my magnificent seven will go up and I’ll send out my final payment of the month for that final article paying them in full.

You have been treated to topics like Church history from Pastor George Kelly Common Core’s Kobayashi Maru from AP (Lady Liberty) Dillon , a bit of Venezuela from Fausta, Indoctrination vs education from Baldilocks The sanity of homeschooling from Linda Szugyi , What Smoking Taxes actually do to a culture from Marathon Pundit and the Left’s Lawfare in Wisconsin from Steve Eggleston and today you will get one more piece from Steve rounding out the contributions from my Magnificent Seven.

Unlike the litigious bloggers of the Huffington Post my seven have not just been promised exposure, each has been paid for their work since day one.

That’s why AOL will never come calling with $315 Million or even 2 Million because if they did they’d not only would they have to pay my writers, but I’d likely just start a new even bigger venture along these same lines with the dough.

It would be very cool if eventually the story ended with a huge site, linking hundreds of conservative bloggers and with our own staff of paid reporters, but for now we’re still the beginning and on this last day of the first month of my Magnificent Seven I’m $179 shy of ending that first month with all my writers paid in full AND the mortgage paid in full too.

One tip jar hit of $179   or two at $90 or Four at $45 will get it done.

I can’t promise that this will eventually grow into that ultimate conservative powerhouse driving supporting and electing conservatives as my ultimate plan, but succeeding in the small things will make the large things possible.

Two final thoughts

We are offering sponsorships of both the Magnificent Seven & the Magnificent Panel now is an excellent time to jump on board, contact me here for more details

If I can get 63 more subscribers at $20 a month then the mortgage and the magnificent seven will be paid in full EVERY MONTH.