July 12, 2014

‘Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?’ Passage of the Day

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day — Tom @ 6:09 pm

As a decided funk settles in five years after the recession’s official end, inconvenient data disappears:

Slowing Customer Traffic Worries U.S. Retailers

… Near-term trends aside, store chains across the retailing industry are wrestling with what could be a permanent decline in shopper visits. Customers now use their mobile phones and computers to compare promotions, prices and products before heading into a physical store to buy clothes, electronics and increasingly, groceries.

… “Shoppers are making targeted visits to malls and going into fewer stores,” said Christopher Ainsley, CEO of ShopperTrak, a Chicago-based data firm that records store visits for retailers using tracking devices installed at 40,000 outlets in the U.S.

ShopperTrak is changing the way it presents its data, as mall owners and retailers come to terms with declining store visits. In reaction to feedback from the retailers ShopperTrak serves, the firm said starting July 17 it would quit reporting results from individual malls and instead report the tallies by ZIP Code.

The firm said its customers wanted a way to understand what was happening in the broader area as opposed to just at individual malls.

Man, is it getting deep in here.

ShopperTrak’s customers — i.e., individual malls — don’t want the world to see how pathetic their traffic results are. They will still get their individual mall data; they just don’t want the public to see it.

May 25, 2014

Today’s Economic History Lesson

Brilliant (HT NewsAlert):

You want a real “hockey stick”? I’ll give you a real hockey stick:

FreeMarketsHockeyStick

The world meandered along for millennia with the average person earning $3 a day.

Then in the early 1800s, it began to shoot up.

Innovation is responsible.

According to the video’s presenter, Deirdre McCloskey, a Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois-Chicago, the rise in innovation which created upward, hock stick-shaped trajectory occurred because of the rise of economic liberty and and the evolution of a cultural position of social honor for inventors, merchants, and manufacturers.

That is, free markets and capitalism are responsible.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is moving away from what has worked. It is being supplanted by regulatory tyranny and the government-crony complex, a fancy term which really means “exploitation of those who aren’t connected by those who are.”

Related: “Big Green wants to repeal the Industrial Revolution.” Occasionally, you actually hear them say this.

Whether stated or not, their agenda would take the world back to $3 a day.

But the world as they envision it could NOT support its current population of 7-plus billion. Billions would necessarily have to die to get to their “one with nature” utopia. Some of them even acknowledge this, and don’t seem to mind.

May 23, 2014

Comment of the Day: On Common Core

From a NewsBusters commenter:

I have a bachelor’s degree in Math. I read some of the common core math instruction. If you wanted to turn students off to math, if you wanted to make them hate it with all their being, if you wanted to make math so incomprehensible that few American students will ever be able to master it, you could not have done a better job than coming up with Common Core.

Addition and subtraction are simple concepts. Multiplication and Division are simple variations on the theme of addition and subtraction. By using a “new” and contrived language to teach basic math concepts you are promising American illiteracy in the subject.

As I wrote ten days ago (BizzyBlog mirror):

This garbage has got to go.

The default assumption has to be that anyone who still supports Common Core is uninformed, bought and sold, or an unapologetic statist.

May 17, 2014

Quote of the Day: Ben Carson

Filed under: Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:55 am

Dr. Carson (roundabout HT to a commenter) explains why Barack Obama, who is deliberately standing by as the deceptions occur instead of demanding that they stop, and whose White House in all many instances is actively participating in those deceptions, is “Unfit for Office”:

Making mistakes is part of being human, but the ever-increasing deception that is necessary to cover those mistakes when honesty is abandoned is evil.

No one can reasonably claim that we’re not at that point.

April 21, 2014

Comment of the Day: On NBC’s David Gregory

News Item: “As ‘Meet the Press’ struggles in the ratings, plenty of questions for host David Gregory”

Last year, the network undertook an unusual assessment of the 43-year-old journalist, commissioning a psychological consultant to interview his friends and even his wife. The idea, according to a network spokeswoman, Meghan Pianta, was “to get perspective and insight from people who know him best.” But the research project struck some at NBC as odd, given that Gregory has been employed there for nearly 20 years.

From a commenter at Ann Althhouse’s place:

… that’s a sound procedure whenever someone brings an illegal assault weapon magazine into the workplace.

April 12, 2014

The Nevada Ranch Standoff (See Exit Question and Updates)

Graphic of the Day, via Matt Hurley, concerning the Bundy Ranch standoff, in which the Bureau of Land Management has backed downfor now:

BundyRanchImmigrationGraphic0414

Well, the problem is that this isn’t our federal government.

It’s the Washington establishment’s federal government, in this case attempting to benefit the family and cronies of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Links:

- Dana Loesch (“The Real Story Behind The Bundy Ranch Harassment”; links are in original and bolds are mine throughout this post) —

A tortoise isn’t the reason why BLM is harassing a 67 year-old rancher. They want his land. The tortoise wasn’t of concern when Harry Reid worked BLM to literally change the boundaries of the tortoise’s habitat to accommodate the development of his top donor, Harvey Whittemore. Whittemore was convicted of illegal campaign contributions to Senator Reid. Reid’s former senior adviser is now the head of BLM. Reid is accused of using the new BLM chief as a puppet to control Nevada land (already over 84% of which is owned by the federal government) and pay back special interests. BLM has proven that they’ve a situational concern for the desert tortoise as they’ve had no problem waiving their rules concerning wind or solar power development. Clearly these developments have vastly affected a tortoise habitat more than a century-old, quasi-homesteading grazing area. If only Clive Bundy were a big Reid donor.

BLM has also tried to argue that the rules have changed, long after Bundy claims he secured rights and paid his dues to Clark County, Nevada.

*UPDATE: Those who say Bundy is a “deadbeat” are making inaccurate claims. Bundy has in fact paid fees to Clark County, Nevada in an arrangement pre-dating the BLM. The BLM arrived much later, changed the details of the setup without consulting with Bundy — or any other rancher — and then began systematically driving out cattle and ranchers. Bundy refused to pay BLM, especially after they demanded he reduce his heard’s head count down to a level that would not sustain his ranch. Bundy OWNS the water and forage rights to this land. He paid for these rights. He built fences, established water ways, and constructed roads with his own money, with the approval of Nevada and BLM. When BLM started using his fees to run him off the land and harassing him, he ceased paying. So should BLM reimburse him for managing the land and for the confiscation of his water and forage rights?

Cliven Bundy’s problem isn’t that he didn’t pay — he did — or that his cattle bother tortoises — they don’t — it’s that he’s not a Reid donor.

- InfoWars (“Sen. Harry Reid Behind BLM Land Grab of Bundy Ranch”) —

The Bureau of Land Management, whose director was Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) former senior adviser, has purged documents from its web site stating that the agency wants Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle off of the land his family has worked for over 140 years in order to make way for solar panel power stations.

FreeRepublic activists have preserved them here and have posted them in the comments (spread through several web pages).

- The standoff story, per Infowars (“Feds Back Down In New Bundy Standoff, Agree to Release Cattle”) —

In an epic standoff that Infowars reporter David Knight described as being like “something out of a movie,” supporters of Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy advanced on a position held by BLM agents despite threats that they would be shot at, eventually forcing BLM feds to release 100 cattle that had been stolen from Bundy as part of a land grab dispute that threatened to escalate into a Waco-style confrontation.

Despite the fact that Bureau of Land Management officials agreed to cease their operation to seize Bundy’s cattle after a massive public backlash, Bundy demanded that Sheriff Douglas Gillespie disarm BLM officials and return his stolen cows.

When this didn’t happen, hundreds of Bundy supporters, including cowboys on horseback, descended on a nearby cattle pen outside of Mesquite where the seized cows were being held.

In a tense standoff, armed BLM feds, backed up by at least one SWAT team, threatened to shoot at Bundy supporters if they marched any closer to a line of vehicles.

Despite threats such as “one more step and you’re dead,” the protesters continued their slow march towards BLM agents as bullhorns blared.

Refusing to back down, the protesters marched straight past the armed men and towards the cattle pen.

Sheriff Gillespie eventually appeared to inform Bundy supporters that the BLM had finally caved and agreed to release the 100 cattle they had seized that were inside the pen.

After around 30 minutes, Bundy supporters saw the cattle being released about a mile away in the distance.

It cannot be overstated how much of a gargantuan victory this represents for the American people in their battle against big government tyranny.

“The people have the power when they unite,” Ammon Bundy told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “The war has just begun.”

I understand the exhiliration and am impressed and heartened by the courage of those involved, but this is no “gargantuan victory.” It’s more like an opening skirmish — and not just at Cliven Bundy’s ranch. The government is surely recalibrating its strategies, there and elsewhere.

Special kudos go to Matt Drudge, who took the risk of citing stories originating from so-called “fringe” sites (some of the leading lights of the center-right blogosphere did not cover themselves with glory in this regard).

Make no mistake: This standoff ended when it did because Harry Reid cannot afford to let his cronyism get widely exposed, which was certainly going to happen if it had lasted into Monday. Perhaps it still will, but establishment press resistance and attempted ridicule will be substantial.

EXIT QUESTION: Does anyone still believe that the Constitution’s Second Amendment isn’t as much about citizens defending themselves against an out-of-control government as it is about the natural-law right of self-defense?

__________________________________________

UPDATE, April 13: Received an email from a trustworthy source claiming that “the number of citizens who WOULD have shown up at the Bundy ranch in Nevada during the standoff, and the number of eyewitness reports about federal abuses on the way would have been overwhelming if the feds had not illegally blocked their travel.”

UPDATE 2, April 13: Jerome Corsi“REID SMELLING ANYTHING BUT ROSY IN RANCH FIGHT; Desert showdown blows lid off long-standing plans with Chinese”

March 25, 2014

Crappy Common Core Problem of the Day (See Updates)

Prediction: If Common Core stands, a generation from now we’re going to think of today as “the good old days” when high school grads at least functioned on what had been an 8th grade level in the 1950s, and college grads had 1950s-level high school literacy.

Presented with “solving” garbage problems like the one illustrated below, today’s kids are going to come out of high school and college as blithering idiots — and kudos to the anonymous parent who pushed back (HT The Blaze):

CommonCoreMathPushbackMarch2014

Common Core’s crap must be stopped.

______________________________

UPDATE: This is not a joke“Kid misses Common Core math problems because he didn’t use ‘friendly’ numbers”

UPDATE 2, 11:55 p.m.: Via the Blaze, the father involved has been identified and has good news to report —

Many would be afraid the school would retaliate against their child if they spoke out, but (Jeff) Severt said on The Glenn Beck Program Tuesday that the teacher handled it wonderfully.

“The teachers are caught up in this themselves,” he said. “They are more frustrated than the parents!”

Severt added that his family respects, admires, and supports the teacher, and she thought his message was “great” and, in fact, “totally agrees.”

Well how about we do something about it?

March 19, 2014

Out of Control Education System Column of the Day

From Michelle Malkin’s latest column:

Revolt Against the Testing Tyrants

… College-bound students in Orange County, Fla., for example, now take a total of 234 standardized diagnostic, benchmark and achievement tests from kindergarten through 12th grade. Reading instructor Brian Trutschel calculated that a typical 10th-grade English class will be disrupted 65 out of 180 school days this year alone for mandatory tests required by the state and district.

Parents, teachers and administrators are fed up with Fed Ed. There’s a growing grassroots movement — left, right and center — to opt out of this latest battery of assessments. Last week, the Worcester, Mass., school board voted to allow parents to opt out of PARCC field tests and keep their kids in regular classroom instruction. The Norfolk, Mass., school board did the same in January. Colorado State Board of Education Chairman Paul Lundeen has called on the state legislature to repeal the PARCC testing requirement.

The testing tyrants, of course, are doing everything they can to stop parents from protecting their children: deceive, bully, intimidate and obfuscate.

Bottom line: No child in America is legally required to be a part of the latest Common Core lab-rat testing experiments. You are your kids’ primary educational provider and decider. You have the power to flunk the latest Fed Ed testing boondoggles. Use it.

It’s time to invoke the left’s “Dissent is patriotic” credo in defense of our kids’ and grandkids’ well-being and the nation’s future.

January 22, 2014

Family Values Point of the Day

Filed under: Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Scams — Tom @ 2:59 pm

From James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web:

As it turns out, for Wendy Davis marriage really was the answer to poverty.

Ouch.

December 12, 2013

Quote of the Day: On Obamacare

In a Wall Street Journal editorial:

HHS is trying to conjure the appearance of progress and specificity even as it conceals everything that is relevant to ObamaCare’s performance.

November 5, 2013

Obamacare Headline Pair of the Day

Lord, have mercy:

  • At NewsBusters“White House Granted Itself Waiver to Launch ObamaCare Website With High Security Risk” (the source story’s headline at CBS News, “HealthCare.gov ducked final security requirements before launch,” obfuscates  and downplays the matter’s seriousness — deliberately, in my opinion)
  • At CNS News“White House Admits All Obamacare Signups Must Go Through Healthcare.gov.” That’s paper or online.

So EVERYONE is vulnerable to whatever security shortcomings may exist — including the ones we already know of and ones yet to be found — regardless of how they apply.

If a private company did this, consumers and the government would put it out of business with litigation and court orders.

September 9, 2013

Jaw-Dropper of the Day (Update: Susan Rice Gets to Make the Case)

Link (Delayed HT: frequent commenter dscott):

Congress Members Who Have Seen Classified Evidence About Syria Say It Fails to Prove Anything
Classified Syria Intelligence Fails to Prove Assad Used Chemical Weapons

The administration’s public case for chemical weapons use by the Syrian government is extremely weak, and former high-level intelligence officers say that publicly-available information proves that the Syrian government likely did not carry out the chemical weapons attacks.

Further:

… the Daily Caller reports:

The Obama administration has selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria, former military officers with access to the original intelligence reports say, in a manner that goes far beyond what critics charged the Bush administration of doing in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

The once “unthinkable” (except by a very few of us who have thought this for at least five years) — that, in Instapundit’s words, Obama might be “Wrecking our foreign policy on purpose” — now has to be considered plausible. Norman Podhoretz at the Wall Street Journal certainly believes that it is:

Obama’s Successful Foreign Failure
The president may look incompetent on Syria. But his behavior fits his strategy to weaken America abroad.

My take last week (BizzyBlog mirror) on why Obama decided to go to Congress for an unnecessary authorization vote fits that template.

______________________________________

UPDATE: Also consistent

How Not to Win Over Congress
Sending Susan Rice, on the Benghazi anniversary, to argue for Syria is one of many missteps.

So the person who serially lied about the relevance of a previously virtually unknown anti-Muslim film as what caused the Benghazi terrorist attack is now the face of the administration before Congress.

If Obama really cared about winning over Congress, he’d send someone else. Instead, in-your-face defiance and one-upping his perceived enemies is more important.