Saturday, October 18, 2014

Janet Yellin Visits Chicago's South Side

Janet Yellin, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, recently visited the violent, disadvantaged, pathology-laced south side of Chicago. After spending quite a bit of time with the residents, discovering just why economic mobility is so difficult for them, she released a statement and a video.

Here's the statement:
“The extent and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern me,” Ms. Yellen said to a conference on economic opportunity and inequality sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. “I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity.”
Here's the video:

I mean, I think that was her shooting the video. She's a Really Smart Person. She went to Yale and Brown, both Ivy League universities. I can't imagine she'd make firm pronouncements about the underclass from inside of a government-academic bubble.

Would she?

Update: OK, I'm sold. Janet Yellin had to be the one shooting that video. Another Really Smart Person who went to an Ivy League School had this to say (emphasis mine):
“I think she broke new ground in terms of a Fed chair looking at such a serious socioeconomic issue with that degree of rigor,” said Karim Basta, chief economist at III Associates, an investment adviser, who attended the conference.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ebola Is About Race

... because everything is about race.

Up to now, I've not been able to figure out why we don't have a travel ban on flights from infected countries and why we're not taking steps to close our borders. While it won't stop the spread, it will certainly slow it down. I'd rather fight the disease inside the country with 5-10 initial cases than 500-1,000.

Peggy Noonan today shows what gobbledygook the Administration response is to questions about travel bans. It's clearly lies, but why? Up to now, I'd thought it was the traditional Democrat fetishization of race. Africans are black and any restrictions on blacks is racist. A travel ban is racist and therefore religious apostasy to the Administration.

Jonathon Last disabused me of this notion. It is indeed about race, but, being more precise, it's about racial politics.
Marine Corps General John F. Kelly talked about Ebola at the National Defense University two weeks ago and mused about what would happen if Ebola reached Haiti or Central America, which have relatively easy access to America. “If it breaks out, it’s literally ‘Katie bar the door,’ and there will be mass migration into the United States,” Kelly said. “They will run away from Ebola, or if they suspect they are infected, they will try to get to the United States for treatment.” ...

Ebola has the potential to reshuffle American attitudes to immigration. If you agree to seal the borders to mitigate the risks from Ebola, you’re implicitly rejecting the “open borders” mindset and admitting that there are cases in which government has a duty to protect citizens from outsiders. Some people on the left admit to seeing this as the thin end of the wedge. Writing in the New Yorker, Michael Specter lamented, “Several politicians, like Governor Bobby Jindal, of Louisiana, have turned the epidemic into fodder for their campaign to halt immigration.” And that sort of thing just can’t be allowed.

What would happen in the event of an Ebola outbreak in Latin America? Then America would have to worry about masses of uninfected immigrants surging across the border—not to mention carriers of the virus. And if we had decided it was okay to cut off flights from West Africa, would we decide it was okay to try to seal the Southern border too? You can see how the entire immigration project might start to come apart.
And there you have it. If Democrat leaders become pro-border-security, the party loses its key wedge issue with Hispanics. Since the Democrats live and die with racial-block voting, they can't give up this issue. If Hispanics ever divided their votes 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, the progressive era would be over, o-v-e-r.

On the plus side, an Ebola outbreak would make it easier for the Democrats to vote the graveyard.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Link Of The Day

... comes from the level-headed Calafia Beach Pundit. Here's a tidbit.
Might I suggest that if indeed the world population were to collapse in short order, most of those who managed to survive would face bleak prospects at best; the machinery of the global economy would be effectively broken, and modern civilizations would be hard-pressed to survive. What good would it do to sell everything you own today? Investing in anticipation of the "end of the world as we know it" is a questionable exercise at best. If you are convinced we are faced with an inevitable global catastrophe, then buying plenty of guns, ammunition, food, and a private, isolated island is probably your best strategy.
Read the whole thing.

I've pondered taking some of my S&P 500 money off the table and move it into safe bonds, but I think the time for that has come and gone. I wanted to pull the trigger at 2000, but I didn't. I can't imagine there will be too much more downside before the Fed contracts fiscal Ebola and begins to spray money out every orifice to stop whatever business cycle is causing them to wet their pants.

If things get too dire in the market, the Fed will save us from ourselves by manufacturing money out of thin air. Well, it will hand out free money until it can't do that any more because printed money has no value, but that looks like it's a ways off.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Infantry Against Ebola?

One more thought on Ebola. For the life of me, I can't figure out why we sent Army soldiers to Africa to do something about Ebola. It seems to me that they're just going to become disease vectors. Allegedly they're there to set up testing and treatment labs.
Eventually, up to 4,000 military personnel are expected to be deployed to West African countries battling the Ebola outbreak
It seems like a force that size will be devoured by both the country and the virus.

Do we keep them in quarantine before we let them back in the country?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Thought About Ebola And Quarantines

I'm sure that as soon as Health and Human Services can break someone free from their Birth Control Enforcement Division they'll be all over this with a wonderful solution. In the meantime, I'm thinking that if Ebola ever gets loose in, say, the migrant worker camps of California, the back hills of West Virginia or New Orleans' 9th Ward, we're pretty much screwed.

It sure would be nice to close off the border right now and ban flights from Africa. If you can't control it once it gets loose inside the country, your best bet is to stop it while it's still outside.

Naahhhhhh. Closing the border is racist. I'd rather die from Ebola than risk being called a racist.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Small Talk With A Homeless Dude

... is pretty tough.

Yesterday, my wife and I were having lunch after Mass on an outdoor patio at a local Mexican place. We saw a homeless fellow walk by, take a look in the trash and then wander around. My wife got up and offered to buy him lunch. He sat down at the table next to ours while she went inside to order. It was then that I realized how hard it was to chat with him.

His name was Dwight. Dwight looked like he'd spent the night in the bushes. He was pretty baked as well, only marginally able to hold a conversation. Beer or cheap wine was my guess. We talked about the weather and he told me about the ocean temperature and what that meant and I asked if he was from San Diego and he pointed in the direction of where he was born.

And then the conversation stopped.

What do you ask? Where do you live? How are things in the bushes? What's the foraging like these days?

After an awkward silence, I asked if he'd lived anywhere else. That was a good line as it gave him his chance to spin a yarn about having traveled the world. He was pretty drunk or maybe his brain had been fried from bouts of drinking, so his speech was difficult to understand. I was able to pick out the word "Shanghai" and that led me to ask if he'd been in the Navy. Jackpot again. He launched into another unintelligible story about serving on the Enterprise and something or other. It wasn't important that the stories were true or even whether or not I understood them, it was just a chance to show him some affection.

When I work downtown, the conversations start themselves. It's a customer-clerk relationship. The business end of the deal keeps the conversation going and everything flows from that. In this case, there was no such anchor and keeping it going was much, much harder.

We left Dwight with a hearty lunch and he was shoveling it into his mouth almost with the palms of his hands when we left. From the looks of things, he'd been drinking whatever money he had found and food had been cut from the budget.

I'm still not quite sure where I should have gone with our confab.

Here's a site with suggested conversation starters. It's decent, but I feel like I'd tried those. The housed-homeless cultural gap can be tough to bridge, I guess.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Abortion Is Darwinian

I've always loved the smug, condescending characterizations of religion as some kind of psychological pacifier, concocted by savages to calm their mortality-worried minds. I'm also a big fan of evolutionary biology where scientists explain species and sub-species differences by noting competitive advantages. When Darwinian advantage analyses are applied to humans, it's particularly fun. After all, Darwin himself suggested the "inferior" races would vanish from the earth and we'd be left with the "superior" humans, a gap and then the apes in the whole ESPN Evolution Power Poll.

This weekend, I came across this tweet.

The story at the link is fascinating, like the diary of a Einsatzgruppen field officer describing how he helped cleanse Grossdeutsches Reich of subhumans, making room for a future influx of the Volk. After all, let's face it, there's no Sky Fairy and we're all just animals, DNA strands trying to propagate down the misty corridors of time in robotic fashion. Everything we do is governed by biology and natural selection.

Once you discard the primitive superstitions created by confused and hysterical minds, you can embrace the world as it is and realize that abortionists are merely carrying out their programming - destroying competitors to their own progeny. It's all so simple. The pro-choice crowd is naturally following their Darwinian impulses.

Instead of pro-choice, we should call it pro-natural-selection. We're not exercising reproductive rights, we're weeding out the inferior members of the species.

Baboons do this. When a new male defeats the old alpha, he will slay all the nursing babies so their mothers will come into heat sooner and he can mate with them. It's natural, it happens all the time in the wild and best of all, it's understood by science.


I felt weird posting this after coming home from a retreat, but it jumped out at me while reading my Twitter stream and I thought it worth posting. The subject is a bit harsh, but there you have it.