Saturday, July 29, 2006

More or less in poverty?
from the mind of  Evan Kruse.

House OKs minimum wage increase - via MSNBC.

What does this actually mean? I think that there will be no direct effect on us in the Northwest as our local minimum wages are much higher than the federal minimum. But... we live in an integrated economy.

One thing is for sure, and that is the increase in price levels... which means that my buck fiddie today will be buying significantly less a down the road. The US as a whole has been fairly lucky (or, perhaps it isn't luck at all, but good management of the economy) with low inflation.

Another thing is for sure... in one fell swoop, our number of citizens at poverty level will instantly increase. If price levels change roughly equally to the raise in minimum wage, we will merely be demoting the workforce that is 15 or 20 cents above minimum wage back down to the base. That's unfortunate.

We will also be encouraging 'under the table' employment. As the legal pay rate increases, the incentive for an employer to not report employment, not file taxes, and look for someone who is willing to work illegally goes up. This will actually increase the demand for illegal immigrants. And, since the demand for illegal employment seems mostly endless, I doubt they'll be surfing the correct side of the supply/demand curve that would naturally incrase wages. In order to increase wages in the marketplace, one needs to have a labor shortage.

Locally, this will probably benefit Oregon and Washington. By raising the minimum wage elsewhere in the US, basically, one can view it as reducing the minimum wage in a state where the state minimum wage is higher. This will only make things more competitive, and should be a benefit for regional economy.

My verdict? I see it as a way to buy votes. In all reality, the people who will be effected by this legislation generally don't get the fact that it is a null and void change in their lives. In fact, for the middle class (majority of small business owners) and anyone who likes to travel internationally, the increase in wages will lead to a decrease ability to do business and a decreased value of the Dollar compared to other currencies. Oh, yeah... and it will be a good incentive to ship more jobs overseas.

Aren't the liberals againt shipping jobs overseas?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Several people shot at Jewish Federation in Seattle
from the mind of  Duke.

This happened about an hour ago, two blocks from my current location:
Several people shot at Jewish Federation in Seattle

Since it also happens to be two blocks from my apartment, I'm probably not going to be able to head home for a while.

I'm sure the Religion of Peace had nothing to do with it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

React to the Unknown, or Develop flexible coping skills?
from the mind of  Evan Kruse.

Many conversations I have with Human Caused Global Warming advocates deal with the culminating argument that they believe that global warming is human caused, therefore extreme measures should be levied upon humans to stop the warming. I argue that even though that theory is a bit too simplistic and, in my opinion, not accurate, we are better off spending our efforts developing coping strategies because the reason for climate change is not limited to human causes. I ask them how cutting back on CO2 emissions will combat a surge in energy from the sun.

.This article is by someone who seems to be somewhat likeminded. Oh, he also is a Nobel laureate, and works at a little science laboratory in Europe. He's not a former presidential candidate, actor, newscaster or... well, things that just don't matter... he's a top notch chemist.

Read what he has to say, and think about it. Would you rather be spending all of your money fixing the wrong problem... or would you like to develop various strategies to deal with numerous problems as they arise.

Just think about it. If you do, you just may wonder why the global warming industry refuses to take that approach. One reason might be that the forward thinking first world countries are the likely ones to develop and deploy such measures. This system would probably benefit some sort of government contractor, instead of impose great limitations on citizens of the most productive countries on the planet

Fashion Advice Needed
from the mind of  Duke.

Stange as it may seem, I'm going to be attending burning man with some friends this year. Seeing as it is supposed to be all about free expression, I'm going to need some nice conservative t-shirts to spread the message. I really like the stuff at Anybody have any other suggestions?

Some constraints:

1. I'm going to be in tne middle of the desert, so something with a high albedo is mandatory. So as much as I like this one, it won't work.
2. I'm trying to be something less than outright offensive, so as awesome as this is, it's out too.

There's lots of good stuff on cafepress, and I've had good luck with them before. If you have any favorites you want to recommend, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

from the mind of  Evan Kruse.

Today, our faithful leader in the world order, Kofi Annan, stated requirements for a UN peacekeeping mission to Lebanon.

This is from memory, so it's a rough quote. He said "in order for peacekeeping forces to arrive, the violence MUST stop."

OK, so, technically, a peacekeeping mission, by definition, would be a mission where peace already exists and must be maintained. So, by this definition, the UN should probably muster a force and deploy to the border between Sweeden and Norway.

Our 'world order' leaders at the UN just don't get it. We need force to battle the backwards ideology of the islamofacists today. If a body is to exist to promote peace worldwide, then it must be willing to not just KEEP the peace, but sometimes, when needed, RESTORE the peace. It appears that the UN is unwilling to do the more difficult, but sometimes necessary mission.

Think of it this way: Our local police forces in the US are charged, basically, with enforcing laws that provide the private citizens with the greatest possibility of having a peaceful life, free from violence and bodily harm. By the UN definition of peace promotion, if a local police officer came up to a domestic dispute between a man and a woman, he should only be able to exert any kind of force IF the couple stops fighting. Can you see it now? The cops episodes would mostly be made up of extended video footage of husbands pummeling their wives.

Now, we all in the west understand that sometimes our police must use force to break up a bad situation. They go through training, and are given a fairly wide array of tools to be able to use the best possible force to dissolve bad situations. Many military forces around the world have a similar set of tools and similar training that is catered to dissolving wars instead of domestic disputes.

History has shown, however, that UN peacekeepign forces are not the blessing that the UN makes them out to be. Perhaps Israel is better off providing their own protection.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Election Year in the State of Washington
from the mind of  Duke.

I don't post about local politics nearly enough, so here's one.

Maria Cantwell has started running her first television ads for her Senate reelection bid. It's here if you really want to look at it. But I already watched it so you don't have to!

There are three main points in the ad. So what are they? Foreign policy? Economic strategy for the State of Washington? Initiatives for her next term?

Ha ha, of course not. She talks about how she has opposed Bush, opposed Enron, and opposed those horrible energy companies in general. Wow, that's a seriously compelling platform!

So Maria, if I were to vote for you, what would you actually DO? Besides oppose things, I mean.

Okay, I told myself that I wasn't going to waste time on her site, but I couldn't help but click on National Security. There's some funny stuff there.

Under "Fighting Terrorism":

"Because we face the ongoing threat of terrorism at home and abroad, Maria has fought for increased funding and new technology to keep Americans safe and strengthen our aviation security. Maria has called for increased international cooperation to bring terrorists to justice. And she is pushing for legislation to stop terrorists from using identity theft to enter our country."

"Strengthen aviation security", "International Cooperation", "Legislation"? All of which is to day, more defensive measures. So where exactly is the "fighting" in "fighting terrorism"? Her platform is fighting in the same way that wearing a bulletproof vest is fighting. Which is to say, it isn't. Ooh, more legislation? That'll show Al-Qaeda!

The next two points are "Bringing Our Troops Home" and "Providing Our Troops with the Resources They Need". Hey Maria, I'm confused, why do our troops need more resources if they're just going to be at home?

Finally we have "Ending Violence in Darfur". How does she propose to accomplish this? Simple: "Maria believes that we must rise to this challenge and continue to push for peace in Darfur." Ah! Push for peace! Why didn't I think for that? I'm sure those pesky genocidal Muslim warlords will come around when they see how many troops we have sittin' around at home!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fun With Movie Reviews
from the mind of  Duke.

Here in Seattle, we have this wonderful weekly paper called The Stranger. And while its politics might be pretty much the opposite of those who author this blog, I find completely enjoyable on that level. There's this game I like to play where I go through an issue and count how many pages go by before someone starts badmouthing the president. Let me grab the latest one and see how it goes!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11. Eleven pages. Wow, that just might be a new record! Usually it's way before that. Anyways, the thing that really caught my eye in this week's issue was an ad towards the back for a cheap looking zombie movie called "Masters of Horror: Homecoming". The tagline is priceless: "Killed in an unjust war, they rise to take vengeance on those who sent them... with their VOTE".

So is this, at long last, the Democrats' new strategy for winning elections - having the dead vote? Remember, it has worked here before.

Anyways, it gets better, for included in the add is a quote from a review of the movie from The Village Voice: "Jaw-dropping... easily once of the most important political films of the era!" Yes, that's right, if you are in the mood for a good political movie, the best you can possibly do is a third rate zombie flick. With this in mind, I would like to declare Bubba Ho-tep to be the definitive Elvis biopic.

Has anyone else noticed the trend among critics, most of who seem to be very liberal, to focus their criticism primarily through the prism of their politics? While that would certainly be reasonable for political works (even zombie films!), it can produce some very strange results for when the work being reviewed isn't really political at all. For example, The Onion A.V. Club usually has decent reviews, but their recent review of the first season DVD of The Wild Wild West: The Complete First Season contains this howler:

"At its core, The Wild Wild West was about how the U.S. would rather demolish rogue states outright than work with them or learn from them."

What? The show, for those of you who have not seen it, is a goofy western, with a dash of science fiction thrown in. Or at least that's what most people probably thought before they realized that it was actually about how the U.S. deals with rogue states. Right.