Saturday, February 28, 2015

NY region wants to secede

NY poverty map

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has earned himself a singular distinction. Conditions in parts of NY are so bad that the people want to become part of Pennsylvania.

New York State is Rust Belt plus NY City. While The City prospers the rust thickens. Upstate NY is an economic disaster. But across the state line in Pennsylvania there is growth. Growth! The bordering parts of NY could have the same growth for the same reason. Gas in the Marcellus Shale. Gas produced by hydraulic fracking.

But Gov. Cuomo killed off fracking. After he won reelection. He is afraid of it. But he claims it was not his decision: Cuomo leadership? NOT. The reasons his environmental department guy gives are backwards logic. The Wall Street Journal says:

In other words, all of the Governor’s men couldn’t find conclusive evidence that fracking presents a significant risk to public health or the environment. So they’re going to ban fracking until they do.

The truth is that fracking has been taking place around the country for many years without evidence of environmental harm. Even the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which desperately wants to find it, has uncovered no credible evidence that fracking causes groundwater contamination.

Taxes are also a problem. WBNG TV

Also being considered are things like workers comp, surcharges, unemployment and health insurance. The association's understanding is that the secession would have to be approved by the New York State Legislature, the Pennsylvania State Legislature and the U. S. government.

"We're comparing the taxes in Pennsylvania compared to those in New York," said Finch. "There's a great, great difference. Right now, we are being deprived of work, jobs and incomes."
Action News spoke with two local business owners in Conklin about the proposal. John Gage, owner of Reliable Market, said he fully supports the idea.

"The tax structure in New York is just horrible to do business in," said Gage. "Whether it's fracking, or other reasons to secede, it sounds like a good idea to me."

Fifteen towns in the NY counties of Broome, Delaware, Tioga and Sullivan are actively talking about moving.

I saw another source that quoted people as saying across the line in Pennsylvania people are buying new cars and upgrading their homes or building new ones. But there in NY they sit and rust: no jobs. And another sore spot is that they wanted but were denied gambling; that’s short-sighted.

The graphic is from North Central

Friday, February 27, 2015

Drink coffee; it's healthy

Misc Coffee Cup

Another target-hit by coffee. Drinking it can lessen the chance of getting MS - multiple sclerosis. And we are not talking about moderation here; one study says 4 or more cups per day; a study in Sweden says 6 cups or more. And it’s the caffeine!

Previous studies have found that people who drink coffee were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, two other neurological diseases. 

American Academy of Neurology via Seattle Times

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Failure of AFP, Al Jazeera and Daily Mail

Big news organizations fell for an obvious fabrication.

There is flooding in Gaza. The Gaza Ministry of Interior claimed that Israel had opened dams and intentionally caused the flooding. BUT there are no dams in that part of Israel. AND Agence France Presse, Al Jazeera and Daily Mail ran with it. 

You thought the big news media had editors and high standards and so didn’t fall for fabricated stories. !!

The flooding is caused by rains and run off in an area whose government spends its money on rockets instead of infrastructure, like drainage and fuel for the pumps. 

Washington Examiner

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Persecuted church update

Matt Paulson Taureg Nomads in Niger jpeg

Niger, West Africa:

I reported January 19 that a number of churches and Christian schools were torched and at least ten people died in Niger. The crimes were done by Muslims protesting a non-event, the publishing of cartoons by a newspaper no one had ever cared about because no one had heard of it - Charlie Hebdo. Economic Freedom

Update: The report on January 23 was that 72, seventy-two, buildings were destroyed. That number includes some pastors’ homes and at least one orphanage. The Christian support organization Open Doors put the number at 68 across five regions of Niger.

Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram in Nigeria said that the attacks would continue in Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.

Morningstar News

More news from Morningstar. Hindu extremists in east India… The communist government of Laos...

I intend to do regular updates on how the Church is being persecuted. It is happening in many nations around the world. Photo from Matt Paulson.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ask Uruguay if terrorists just need jobs

Uruguay on map

President Jose Mujica of Uruguay believed US Sec of State John Kerry: “Root cause: they need jobs.” So Uruguay accepted six Guantanamo detainees and offered them jobs. He is sorry - after only two weeks.

Investors Business Daily:

But when he drove his beat-up Volkswagen to the government housing complex where the six former Gitmo inmates from Syria and Iraq were staying free of charge, Mujica was promptly enlightened.

Seems the Gitmo grads had turned up their noses at several job offers from labor unions as not quite good enough for their refined tastes.

Coming from a background that had led him to believe they'd love a good proletarian position in construction, Mujica was horrified. He called them lazy and lacking a work ethic and condemned them with the worst expletive he could come up with: "bourgeois."

"If these people were humble people of the desert, poor people, they'd surely be stronger and more primitive, but they're not," the Associated Press quoted him as saying. "Through their hands, features and family histories, it seems to me that they're middle class."

The clash of cultures is amusing enough. But it also tells us a lot about the nature of Gitmo's terrorists. Seems they're not just frustrated people looking for jobs, as State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf has insisted.

They're well educated, middle class and not terribly ambitious. In fact, from the recent encounter, it seems they think the world owes them a living.

They don’t want his stinking jobs.

Embracing Islamofascism is what lets them shun work and live like bums, all in the name of being on divine mission, men above other men who can do anything or nothing.

He believed deluded John Kerry. Did you know he served in Vietnam?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

George Washington

February 22 we honor our primary founding father and first president George Washington.

The US got rid of the holiday to honor him and turned it into Presidents Day, a purposeless Monday to form a 3-day weekend. Let’s honor him in this small corner on February 22, the anniversary of his birth in 1732.

His farewell address of 1796 was read in Congress every year until the 1979 When that ended there was a wreath-laying ceremony at the Washington Monument until 2003. Congress stopped honoring President Washington? It appears so.

His farewell address: After his opening personal remarks he goes on to emphasize the union of the states and that the parts work together:

… The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds in the productions of the latter great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water, will more and more find a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connection with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighboring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rival ships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

Later he decries the division in politics caused by parties. Later he says we rely on religion and morality:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

Then he disparages borrowing. Then he warns of attachment to some foreign nations and calls for neutrality instead. He concludes with humility. A great man.

Text at the Avalon Project at Yale Law School. See also US

Friday, February 20, 2015

The US Senate is functioning again

Powerline Political Science shirt

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sent me a postage-paid envelope while complaining about what the terrible Republicans are doing now that they kicked him out of his job.

Here is how I responded:

Minority Leader Harry Reid

Senator Reid,

You wrote me to warn me about how the Republicans are running the US Senate. Let’s look at what they are doing.

I know how you ran the Senate for eight years. You violated how the greatest deliberative body in the world has worked for centuries. Most people don’t know this. You did not allow the committees to hold hearings, but ruled with an iron hand.

Senator Cantwell doesn’t talk about how idle she has been for the past eight years. She had nothing to do, because you took away her role.

Senator McConnell has done a shocking thing. He is allowing committee hearings. And he even allows the minority the role it has had for centuries. Don’t minority Democrats talk to you about how they like to be involved?

Your letter is unusual in that it is not just name calling. You included some data and showed how to misuse it. US economic growth is miserably low. Taking out the two miserable years of the recession that ended in 2009 it is still low compared to post-WWII growth. If it were higher millions more people would be working. If Obama’s $837 billion stimulus you spent on your political allies had been effective you would have done it again; you didn’t.

I am using the post-paid envelope you provided so I could communicate with you.

Image: downloaded from Power Line Blog’s weekly picture edition. PowerLineBlog

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Uff Da! A dead end

ST fremont troll sm

Seattle Times has a classy “link not found” page. A dead end with an enforcer.

Dead End

In case they don’t keep the pic of the Fremont Troll, which is under the Aurora bridge, I am posting it here.

Facebook and games in Seattle

Facebook now has 500 employees in Seattle and has leased more space for next year. Their local leader says they are expanding here because the tech talent is here - including game developers - high-end games. That started long ago when Electronic Arts moved here.

We have seen recently that cloud companies are moving here because the largest pool of talent is here.

Seattle Times

Also: Best Buy is opening a small software development office for e-commerce. In a Seattle Times building. Sea Times again

Monday, February 16, 2015

8.3% spending growth is austerity

To President Obama increasing spending by 8.3% is austerity. Everyone tells us he is smarter than Einstein. Why can’t he compare two numbers and know which is bigger?

Investors Business Daily

Red-light and school-zone cameras in Seattle

Watch out! Seattle needs money and they are happy if you provide it. Of course, they try to remember to talk about safety when putting money-generating cameras on traffic lights and school zones. But Seattle needs money.

Seattle Times has a map of the locations. Though the map doesn’t load for some reason. But when you click on an icon it tells you the location - and how many thousands of tickets it has generated.

Seattle Times. They say the data is as of June, 2013.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Obamacare at it again in California

Obamacare sent out 100,000 tax forms with errors in California. Only 100,000? Then they did some right! Don’t blame… never mind. Nothing sticks to anyone. No one will be held accountable...


Friday, February 13, 2015

Moving jobs out of Seattle - minimum wage

Cascade Designs will move 100 jobs from Seattle to Nevada due to the huge increase in the minimum wage. (My former coworker John Burroughs founded this company, but still worked with us until it because a $5 million company in the late 1980s.)

They designed and make Therma-a-Rest sleeping pads for backpacking. They make MSR stoves and other items branded Platypus.

Seattle Times

Seattle-based outdoor-gear maker Cascade Designs will move about 100 jobs, roughly one fifth of its workforce, to a new manufacturing and distribution facility in Nevada as it seeks to keep costs down while pursuing growth.

The company said it needs to expand, but doing so in the Seattle area is too expensive. The main reason is increasingly expensive real estate, especially for the space it leases around the city to house its merchandise.

“We’re running out of space in Seattle,” spokesman Martin Maisonpierre said.

But labor costs — recently subject to a minimum wage of $15 per hour — also add up, especially as Cascade competes with brands that rely on cheap overseas labor, Maisonpierre said.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

President Abraham Lincoln

Team of rivals DK Goodwin

A great man and great leader. Even during the bloody battles of the Civil War he wanted the people of the southern states to be welcomed to return to the union. Welcomed.

February 12 we celebrate the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

I enjoyed the book about how he won the nomination in 1860 over three more prominent men; the guy who always told corny jokes has amazing political instincts! Then how he put together a team including those he defeated -- because they were the best — in his cabinet.

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

No one should be forced to pay union dues

Why should anyone be forced to pay union dues? 

Regarding public employees in Washington — First, the State of Washington allowed public employees to form unions around 2002. Why? They were already in good hands; they could always go over their bosses’ heads and ask the Legislature to consider their plights. The employees didn’t need it, but the Olympia powers wanted more dollars lobbying for bigger government.

Second, the Legislature forced employees to join and pay union dues. It's one thing to allow, but another to force the union.

Third, the Legislature did not create a provision so the employees in a bargaining union could end forced membership. The provision that protects the union is called “union security.” Note that it is security for the union against the people it represents, not for the workers. The employees cannot get out of it.

On the other hand: All members of unions in private businesses have the right to hold an election to “union security” due to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act.  In California and Oregon public employees have the corresponding right. Why not the public employees of Washington?

Senate Bill SB-5045 and House Bill HB-2068 would create a mechanism so workers could petition to hold an election to removed forced union membership requirement. 

I called the Legislative Hot Line 1-800-562-6000 this morning to send the message that I support these two bills. They forward my message to my senator and two representatives.

Generic Freedom Foundation 1/23

Generic Freedom Foundation 2/7 “Senate Demos call bill undemocratic!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Raising minimum wage killed indie book store

Borderland bookstore in San Francisco announced it will out of business in March after eighteen years. They have to fight the giants Amazon and e-books from them and from Barnes and Noble. And the costs of operating in the big city - high rents, etc. But they say the final nail was the high and increasing minimum wage. 

The minimum wage was $10.74 last year; it went to $11.05 on January and will go to $12.25 on May 1. And it will continue to rise until it reaches $15.00. That’s 14% in less than five months! Balance your budget with one of your largest expenses going up 14%! In the book selling business you can’t raise your prices like that; it would mean death. The store’s blog explains every alternative they explored of reducing expenses or raising revenues. Borderlands

Daily Caller

And the problem is widespread. A study by American Action Forum shows that cities and states with higher minimum wages have higher unemployment and it’s much worse for teenagers. Study

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Taxes are hurting US top companies

Why is Apple borrowing when it has over $100 billion in cash?

Apple is planning to sell bonds to raise $6.5 billion. But they have $178 billion in cash and marketable securities. But they need to raise more cash because most of the $178 B is overseas and US tax policy makes them want to keep it there. The US has the highest corporate taxes in the world!

Apple cannot use the cash it has to best conduct their business with it “captive” overseas. One use of the cash raised will be to pay a larger dividend - to reward its investors. 

Associate Press at Oregon Live

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Texas invests more - UW president

TAM AggielandWaterTower

University of Washington President Michael Young is departing to go to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Why? Around $1.6 million per year. But more than that. He says the state of Texas is taking better care of higher education. Seattle Times 

One of the attractions, he said, was the amount of money Texas lawmakers are interested in investing in the university system, and he expressed disappointment that Washington lawmakers haven’t done a better job here.

That’s not possible, because Texas is a Republican red state and Washington is a blue state controlled by Democrats!?  Young says it is true. More...

The Texas job also sounded exciting, he said. “It’s about the opportunity to do something new. It sounds like an adventure.”

Sharp, who said Texas A&M is “already the largest dollar-wise research institution in the Southwest,” said he and Young discussed the university’s funding resources at length.

“I think he was pleased with that,” Sharp said. “I spent a great deal of time showing him what the budgets were and what the future budgets could be and where the money’s coming from.” The Texas A&M University System has an endowment of $11 billion, dwarfing the UW’s $2.8 billion, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

There it is: more investment in the public state university in Texas than in Washington.

Photo: "AggielandWaterTower" by Blueag9 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -