True Unemployment Numbers In One Graph

Obamanomics explained in one chart

You may be running into friends and realtives at holiday gatherings who claim that the 5% unemployment rate is one of Obama’s success stories, and a good reason to stick with the Democrats.  Writing in Conservative HQ, George Rasley highlights a chart produced by Benjamin Weingarten in Genfkd that sums up the uselessness of the U3 unemployment  rate statistic inevitably tossed out by the media to make the claim that the economy is recovering under Obama. Most AT readers are sophisticated and realize that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ s U3 “unemployment rate” does not count discouraged workers who have given up the search for work. The BLS calls these people “marginally attached workers,” and the criteria for blasting them into invisibility in the U3 stats are pretty easy to meet:

Persons not in the labor force who want and are available for work, and who have looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months), but were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

But most of our friends and neighbors do not realize that the more realistic U6 rate, generally ignored by the media does count the “marginally attached workers” as unemployed, and it is nearly double the U3 rate (currently 9.9% versus 5%).

So how do we sum up all this complicated information in one chart?

Here it is. Show it to your friends who think Obama has been good for the economy:

Why The SAT Is Changed Again. It’s The Progressive Thing to Do.

The College Board is changing the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT for the second time in ten years. The test is used to test scholastic aptitude and is used by colleges to rank students in the admission process. Some years ago, I read that the SAT was developed to level the field in such rankings and not allow socioeconomic status to overly influence admissions counselors. Now It is said that the modern SAT is “nothing more than a test of socioeconomic status.” We’re back to where we started! That students in certain socioeconomic groups who are the children of people who are smart and work hard also are also smart and work hard are just the sort of people who would score well on the SAT.   To the progressive mind, this is all unbearable. The solution is to make the test easier so that the scores skew higher. To do this, the test will no longer require an essay, and will not require knowledge of “difficult, lesser-used vocabulary words.” How about that!! I thought the size and range of vocabulary was an indication of verbal skill, one of the two areas rated by the test. So no perspicacity, or jejune on this new test and we no longer need to proceed with “alacrity, celerity, promptitude and dispatch,”  as H. Hall Katzenbach implored us to do in junior English. 

Gone as well are advanced mathematical concepts. So, how do you test math aptitude without testing math achievement and understanding?  Of course, as the test will include a lot of addition, the use of calculators may be restricted. That’s a good thing, but advanced mathematical concepts are where the wheat is separated from the chaff, but that’s the point. In the progressive mind separating the wheat from the chaff is not promoting social justice.  It is that distinction and achievement in scholastic aptitude should not be the way students are admitted to college as adherence to diversity goals should control the process.

The major progressive problem with the current SAT is that Asian students scored at the top, whites somewhat lower, and blacks and Hispanics at the bottom.  From my experience, no group works harder than Asian students and they deserve rewards, but that isn’t the progressive goal, diversity, so we need to even out the scores across all ethnic categories. (A student told me that he dropped a math course after the first class because he was the only non-Asian in the class.  Another student who took the ACT test and told me he took it because “it was easier.”) The SAT has lost a lot of market to the ACT so making its test easier is also a response to business exigencies. Dollars do count.



The most disturbing aspect of this is that the College Board says it simply wants to test what students are actually learning in high school. So hard words are out and advanced math is not taught anymore. So much for Common Core, which is designed by the new head of the College Board. This is the dumbing down of a nation and that is very sad. 

What Important Facts 26% of Americans Don’t Know

In an NPR article Here  on a National Science Foundation science survey, shows, among other interesting results, that 26% of Americans believe that the sun revolves around the earth!! How can this be? How many times is a student told the truth about the earth revolving around the sun before the third grade? How can a quarter of the population believe in Ptolemy’s geocentric model from more than 2000 years ago that was debunked by Copernicus 600 years ago?

The survey was taken in 2012 and was released recently at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago. The survey also indicated that 39% were aware of the universe starting with a Big Bang and less than half knew of evolution of the human species. US respondents did better than Chinese and EU respondents on the astronomy question, but, by contrast, 66% of Chinese and 70% of EU residents were aware that humans had evolved from earlier species.

Just half knew that antibiotics were not effective against viruses.

In an increasingly complex world, it is very important that citizens be properly and accurately informed on scientific matters. This survey indicates that the basic scientific literacy is lacking and the ability to analyze scientific claims is badly impaired. This leaves the country open to scientific charlatans who would impose policies that injure the nation.

Our educators are urged to “ramp it up” with regard to basic scientific education so that the people have the knowledge necessary to make correct decisions on economic and political issues.

Galapagos Cruise -The Second Day

(see Day One above)
The Legend cruised west to Floreana during the evening, anchoring off a small, curved beach on the North side of the island that led to a trail into the interior. This area is called the Post Office because a Captain James Colnett in the 1750’s put a barrel on shore so that passing sailors could place mail to be picked up by homeward bound sailors and delivered to the addressee in Wales or some such place. 

This system is still in place as visitors deliver post cards and passing “sailors” select those addressed to places close to their homes. One woman did find one addressed to a home a few blocks from her Ohio home and, I presume, it has been delivered by now.

Alejandro gave an historical view of Floreana, focusing on the fact that it has the only freshwater source, a spring in the hills, of any of the islands. This means there were permanent settlers here. There were three groups of interest. The first was a group of four, one woman and three lovers, who arrived in the late 19th Century. Apparently, one of the lovers left, only to be replaced  by a new fellow, but after that, another one left and then suddenly the woman disappeared.  This woman was called the Duchess on account of the fact she was married to a Duke. Good enough for me, but I would like to know what happened to the Duke!

The next group was Norwegians who read a report from some fishermen that the Galapagos were a paradise. So they sold everything and travelled to Floreana, built a factory and went broke as there were no customers. They soon realized that the fishermen were referring to the Galapagos as a paradise because of the off-shore fishing. (An earlier Spanish explorer had reported to the King of Spain that the Galapagos, because of the arid condition and no water that he could find “was hell on earth.” He didn’t find the water source on Floreana! )  So they left.
The third group in the 1920-30 period, included a woman who left the island, travelled to California, then to the US east coast, then to Germany only to be killed in a British air raid in 1943. I have this vision of her travelling in pursuit of her fate. Don’t we all?

After the history lesson, we went snorkeling. After the murkey water yesterday, this was clear. I noted amazing fish, Pacer’s Angels, one of my favorites, everywhere along with butterflies, Meyeri etc, grunts, parrott fish, and assorted invertebrates including orange polyps and some soft leather corals. The most interesting part of dive found me suddenly in the midst of ten green pacific sea turtles. They are wonderful animals and watching them eagerly eat the alga from the rocks was fun, even when they were pushing me around.
The dive lasted for about an hour and we returned to the ship for lunch and rest.

In the afternoon we landed on a green beach due to oivine in the sand. Alejandro had shown us the different sand. Olivine is mineral sand, as are sands created from sandstone. These get hot. Those created from organics, shells, bones etc. don’t get hot. Amazing.
The hike was a few hundred yards on a trail that followed the base of a small mountain, until we encountered a brackish lagoon of about 100 acres that housed about twenty Flamingos. There was some discussion of how the flamingos got to Floreanna, and whether the crustaceans they ate had to preceede them to the lagoon. This was because Alejandro had discussed the need for a favorable niche when a specie arrived on Galapagos.
Flamingos are beautiful, and Alejandro explained that they stand on one leg and tuck their long necks into their wings to take pressure off their hearts. He said we do the same thing when we shift feet etc.

From the lagoon, we walked to a cresent beach that was amazing. We saw evidence of turlle egg laying, trails, dug holes, and, we saw dozens of turtles floating like so many black mines in the shallow water just off the beach, waiting for dark to lay their eggs. Ajejandro sugggested that we take our shoes off but shuffle if we walked in the water due to sting rays in the very shallow water. I was at first dubious, but Alejandro kicked one up in the first ten feet, then we found theme to be everywhere, in the sand and in the shallow water. Looking over the bay, I noted a school of Eagle Rays frolicking on the surface, and other evidence of adundant sea life here, like birds skimming the surface and Pelicans diving.

We walked back to the olivine beach, (The white sand was organic and not hot, the oivine on the other side was mineral and hot. He was right.) And boarded the inflatables for the trip to the boat. By this time, we were adept and getting on and off an inflatable in the surf. There is a trick to it. 

I will describe Sta Cruz and the giant tortoises tomorrow.

Two Curious Items on Christmas Eve

‘Tis the season to be jolly!!.

Early this morning, and it was -11 in Minneapolis, I noted that the LA TImes had decided that it would no longer print what it calls “denier” letters. This refers to “Climate Change Deniers,” of course. This is because the “alarmists,” those who embrace the climate change religion, are being defrocked by the facts of the real world. The simple fact is that there has been no warming for 17 years and there is evidence that we are moving the the opposite direction.

I am old enough to remember the debate about cooling and warming that raged in the 1970’s. The two sides in those days claimed either that polution and gases, (greenhouse gases were a new discovery) were causing the cooling of the earth because sun light was being blocked, or that the same polution and gases were causing warning because of the newly created “greenhouse” effect. The cooling crowd said that a new ice age may be upon us, but no one really cared because glaciers move at, well, glacial speed. So let’s not be too concerned if a glacier starts towards us that will not get here for 1000 years. However, the warmists figured out that if they could convince us that we were all going to burn up, well, they could make money on that, and make money, they have.

So how did the alarmists scare so many people? The simple answer is that they manufactured so called evidence and the media figured out it could get readers, watchers, and listeners, if they could scare people. (WCCO radio in Minnesota built its franchise on weather alerts during the Summer when it would interrupt programming with severe weather warnings. My Aunt Mildred, visiting from Massachusetts, was afraid to go outside most days.) The biggest lie was the Hockey Stick Graph that tried to show rapid, extreme temperature increases during the 20th century. I first encountered the Hockey Stick at a Dartmouth Alumni luncheon when a fellow alum and alarmist lawyer presented it to us. I was sitting in the back of the room, yet, I, and several of my pals all screamed when we saw it. We history majors screamed because the medieval warm period and Little Ice Age were missing, the economics majors screamed because the graph had a 1000 year X axis and a 1.5 degree Y axis, and the math majors screamed that the formula used would give an uptick no matter what data was used. This was my first indication that the entire global warming scheme was a fraud. More followed; fraudulent tree ring data, doctored temperature records and all the time billions of dollars flowing to those who espoused and embraced the warming littany.

The current literature shows that there is no warming, and the IPCC and East Anglia data, shown to be a fraud, supports that idea. Faced by the prospect that the spigot of cash may be turned off, the alarmists have turned to what they know best-media management. This is why the LA TImes decided to stop publishing “denier” letters. The last hope they have of taking political control is to muzzle those who know the truth.

The ultimate goal of the alarmists is to pass legislation severly limiting co2 and then wait a few years and proclaiming that the earth has been saved by them. They are now desparate as the truth is now known and they can’t take the political power they so fervently seek. For more on this subject and the sun’s role in it go HERE.

The second issue that captured my interest is that smoking is being limited in lots of place, even your own living room, but smoking marijuana is being made legal in state after state. There are those who can hold both thoughts in their heads at the same time and say, “That makes sense. I’m glad marijuana smoking is legal and I’m also glad tobacco smoking is illegal.” Now these same people think that second-hand tobacco smoke may cause health issues in twenty years, but are oblivious that second-hand THC in the head of a stoned driver may kill them now. (Some say drivers accustomed to being high are effective drivers. Oh, my!)

What will totally blow their minds is when a emarijuana cigarette is produced that has THC in it and not nicotine. they are banning the ecigarette, but how can they ban the ejoint? What will they do then? There is a certain humor in this situation as there is no good answer. It seems that enhaling second-hand THC is infinitely more dangerous than nicotine. Of course, there are those who like to go through life stoned and they vote, and they even believe in “Climate Change.” I think being scared is important to them.

George Will’s “Pardon these Turkeys.” Great Commentary

George Will has written the following article pointing our several of the more bizarre occurrences that have recently been in the news. Of particular note, is the comment that an asteroid that passed close to the earth “was the product of global warming.”  You can’t make this stuff up. Then there is the effort to re-write history by referring to Democratic Alabama governor as a Republican. Of course, the most absurd such claim is that Republican Abraham Lincoln was a Democrat, which would upset Stephen Douglas, of course. This article is well worth reading. 



Pardon these turkeys


We are tomorrow’s past, so this Thanksgiving give thanks for 2013, a year the future might study more for amusement than for edification. performed the public service of defeating Barack Obama’s ascription of every disagreeable effect to one of two causes — George W. Bush or global warming.

Concerning the latter, a CNN anchor wondered if an asteroid that passed by Earth on Feb. 15 was “an effect of, perhaps, global warming.” The Los Angeles Times announced that it had stopped publishing letters questioning global warming caused by human activity.

Which makes sense, if you agree with the New Yorker’s resident expert, who called the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on warming “the last word on climate change.” It evidently is the first science to reach the end of its subject, all questions answered. Therefore it is puzzling that dramatic predictions of an unusually high number of 2013 hurricanes were dramatically wrong.

Paleoanthropology has not reached its last word. The story of human evolution may have been simplified by conclusions reached this year about a 1.8 million-year-old skull found in the Caucasus in 2005. The earliest human remain found outside of Africa indicates that our ancestors emerged from Africa as a single species, not several species. Its brain was about one-third the size of today’s human brains.

Some of today’s brains. A Tennessee judge’s ruling was reversed: She had ordered a family to change their child’s name, Messiah, because that “title” has “only been earned by one person.” At the school where a Maryland kindergartner is supposed to learn reasonableness, school officials interrogated him for more than two hours before notifying his mother that he possessed a cap gun. Fortunately, it contained no caps; otherwise it would have been deemed an explosive. Michigan educators forced the removal of the little plastic soldiers a mother had put on cupcakes she brought to school on her son’s birthday.

On Sept. 17, Constitution Day, a student atModesto Junior College was told to stop distributing copies of the Constitution until he had filled out the requisite forms for permission to use the college’s designated “free speech area.”

The Bank of England is putting Jane Austen on a new 10-poundnote because without a woman on some notes, British currency would “not command respect and legitimacy.” Queen Elizabeth II is on all notes. When Britain’s education secretary said children should learn to add and subtract, and memorize some of the nation’s kings and queens, a teachers’ union objected. The union had hitherto said: “For the state to suggest that some knowledge should be privileged over other knowledge is a bit totalitarian in a 21st-century environment.” American University in D.C. scheduled a course on “The 50 Shades Trilogy.”

The infantilization of adults continued with the marketing of $600 High Rollers, which are Big Wheels for (biological, not actual) grown-ups. MSNBC, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Gov.

George Wallace’s attempt to prevent the integration of the University of Alabama, identified Wallace as a Republican.

Human remains found beneath a Leicester parking lot were confirmed to be those ofRichard III, missing for most of the 528 years since he lost the Battle of Bosworth. He remains buried beneath the bad reputation acquired at the hands of the Tudors’ talented PR specialist, William Shakespeare.

In Washington, even local government is demented: Its transit authority Metro threatened Henry Docter with “arrest, fines and imprisonment” for the crime of unregulated gardening. Docter had filled 176 empty planters at the Dupont Circle subway stop. Metro was briefly deterred by the public outcry against its threat to punish Docter for his uncompensated act of beautification. But then it had the 1,000 morning glories and other plants ripped out.

Those vigilant about our welfare never sleep; Canadian relief supplies for Oklahoma tornado victims were stopped at the U.S. border until every item could be itemized in alphabetical order and its country of origin noted. You can’t be too careful.

As the National Park Service and NASA understand. They are among the federal They are among the federal agencies that have their own SWAT teams. The Agriculture Department, however, stresses sensitivity. A video of its “cultural sensitivity training” shows employees being instructed to call the Pilgrims who created Thanksgiving “illegal aliens.” Of course there were no immigration laws to make any one of the first Thanksgivings illegal — for which fact, give thanks. Someday, if there is no Agriculture Department, more thanks to be given.

An Analysis of the Iran Agreement

Scott Johnson at has posted an excellent analysis of the recently concluded agreement among western nations and Iran dealing with that country’ nuclear arms initiative. Find it here. In essence, Johnson is saying that “the Obama administration accepts Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.” The question of why Iran wants such weapons is abundantly clear when references to its desire to eliminate Israel, a nation it describes as a “one bomb country,” are examined.

This raises the prospect of Israeli action against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Apparently, Israel has sought and received permission from the Saudis to stage strikes against Iran from Saudi airbases. These position Israeli aircraft close enough to Iran to make the attack without the need to overfly other countries or refuel en-rout. The distance from Saudi Arabia to Iran is short. I served in the Persian Gulf and can attest to that. Remember that a US ship shot down an Iranian airliner that just happened to be taking off in the wrong direction. The only ships with that ability in the Gulf now include the carrier USS H.S. Truman (CVN-75). What would it do as Israeli jets flew over the Gulf to attack Iran? Clearly, its advance warning systems would have instant knowledge of the attack. What would it do with that information? Call the White House! Also, carriers maintain a number of planes in the air, its Carrier Air Patrol, or CAP, at all times to defend against attack. What could go wrong, as they say?

The world now, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu, said after the Iranian deal was signed, is a more dangerous place. He is dead on with that statement and Israel is facing an existential moment.

Abraham Lincoln Trumps Barack Obama at Gettysburg

Yesterday was the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. We all know the story. The Union and Confederate armies fought over the fields and hills of Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863. The Union army was victorious and the Confederates retreated to Virginia, never to invade the north again. For a review of the battle look here. This was the bloodiest day of that war that continued until April, 1865.

Following the battle, a National Cemetery was established and Abraham Lincoln was invited to participate, not as the main speaker, but to add a few comments after the two hour oration by Edward Everett, the leading orator of the time. As Everett said to Lincoln, “you said in two minutes what I tried to say in two hours.”

What concerns me is why Barack Obama, who has tried to link himself to Lincoln numerous times, refused to appear at Gettysburg, a short, sixty-five mile,helicopter ride from the South Lawn of the White House. Where Obama has mentioned that he is, like Lincoln, from Illinois, sees himself as the same sort of leader, and was sworn in on the Lincoln Bible, he did not appear at Gettysburg because whatever he said there would be compared to the Gettysburg Address, one of the most important of our national treasures. The comparison to Lincoln would fail as no one has been able to match Lincoln’s perfect message. Then again it may be that Obama disagrees with that message. He was quoted as saying, “these truths may be self evident.” for example.

Nevertheless, after Wilson, FDR, LBJ as vice-president, and Clinton had appeared at Gettysburg, it is very strange, indeed, that the man who has traveled on Lincoln’s coat tails, not appear on that “battle field of that war,” that means so much to America. His excuse was that he had a scheduling problem, although it appears that his schedule was not set until just before the anniversary. We may never know the real reason, but the comparison to Lincoln is the one I think was most telling.

Update: I just read that Obama omitted the words “under God,” as in “one nation, under God,” from his recitation of the Gettysburg Address for a Ken Burns documentary. The plot thickens, as they say.

Obamacare’s Dismal Debut from “The Onion”

The Onion announces the launch of Obamare’s program on 35 floppy discs for a computer with at least 8mb of free Ram and a monitor with 320X200 resolution, “Or the program will not display well.” The government assured users, saysThe Onion,that the program could be loaded within 4 to 5 hours and if there was a problem users could just hit F1 for Help.

A link to the story is here and is a moment of humor derived from a stupendous government failure that has the potential to damage tens of millions, if not all, Americans.

Democrats have been instructed to stop using the term “Obamacare” and refer to the failed program as “the Affordable Care Act” so as not to besmirch Obama’s name by conjoining it to “the Affordable Care Act,” that, as the few people who have signed up have discovered, is not affordable.

This should help those people who still believe that Obamacare is about providing healthcare and who haven’t recognized that Obamacare is about controlling healthcare, while rationing its use. Stay well, as they say.

Teachers Union Decertified in Wisconsin, and This Is a Big Deal

For most of my business and professional life, I have been involved in labor relations. I was educated at a Quaker School and an Ivy League college, so my view of the labor movement, as absorbed from the teachers, was one of beneficent admiration for early labor leaders, John L Lewis, George Meaney, Walter Reuther and the like were seen as significant leaders for the down trodden workers in industry. There was the task of unifying labor in an organization that could combat the size and organization of corporations. These leaders took on the coal miners, and the auto companies and drove hard bargains to the benefit of the rank and file. It was the Golden Age of the labor movement. Then the decline began.
The decline was due to improved management that reduced workplace tension, the growth of federal and state laws that eliminated discrimination for age, race and gender, and the fact that union membership actually acted as a barrier to success as it imposed seniority systems and extracted dues, usually something close to $1,000.00 per year at current values. Unions just weren’t needed any more. The effect is that private sector union membership is down to 6.5% and declining.

In the public work place, that number is 36% of public workers. The Public Union-Democrat relationship is the most incestuous in the world of labor relations. Here, a Mayor and city council (of Detroit?) make a deal to pay a public union a large wage and provide a large pension and early retirement (so a new worker can be paid benefits and pay dues), and gold plated health plan, all paid for by the tax payers of that city. (This is a true story, as you may have guessed.) The quid pro quo was that the rank and file vote for the Democratic Mayor and City Council and that the union, enjoying its inflated wage structure, would rebate wages received as dues as campaign contributions. It was a perfect symbiotic relationship. It worked for police, firemen, and even teachers, but was highly destructive of city finance and high taxes forced tax payers to the suburbs.

The teachers in several locations seemed to be bothered by the trade off, however, that meant that good teachers could not be rewarded as the seniority system protected bad teachers, and the control over teacher’s lives by the union was really repulsive. It is also expensive. The remedy that the labor laws afford is called decertification. This is the opposite of the certification of the union. Decert petitions are still fairly rare, however, in Wisconsin, a major decertification has occurred. Read more about it here. Blog: Teachers Union Decertified in Wisconsin.

What this means is that the teachers now control their lives, they are graded on their competence and the pride is restored, kids will be taught better and each teacher just received a $1,000.00 raise, not bad for the ten seconds it took to vote on the decertification petition. This means that school boards must treat the teachers well, and they will, but the Democrats on those boards will be wondering why the campaign donations have stopped, as the teachers have decided that they have a better use for their money.