Monday, 31 March 2014

09:29 – As of this morning our inventory of FK01A forensic science kits stands at -1. Fortunately, we have 16 more ready to box up, so that outstanding order will ship today and we’ll have 15 left in stock, assuming no more are ordered today. Barbara got a good start yesterday on labeling bottles for 60 more FK01A forensic kits, so making up solutions and filling those goes on my to-do list with all the other stuff.

Colin missed his calling as a tracking dog. Border Collies are frequently used as tracking dogs, search & rescue dogs, corpse dogs, drug-sniffing dogs, and so on. Their noses aren’t quite as sensitive as those of Bloodhounds, but the BC’s much higher intelligence offsets that. BC’s are, for example, capable of discriminating between the odor of a human corpse and that of animal corpses and understanding that they should ignore all but human corpses. Colin is a natural tracker. Particularly now that it’s spring, our walks consist mostly of Colin trotting along, nose to the ground, following one thing or another. I’m tempted to have Barbara go for a walk, wait until she’s well out of sight, and have Colin attempt to track her.


32 thoughts on “Monday, 31 March 2014”

  1. Dean Baker calls a spade a spade, and we need more of that — especially in economics. Baker rightly points out that — because of universally accepted economic theory — it is impossible to conclude anything except that continued high unemployment is intentional, because the cure is well-known to anyone finishing Econ 101. Today, he delivers another punch at Robert Samuelson, who is a self-contradictory idiot that ought to be knocked out of the ring of his public platform for misinformation.

    Baker does a good job of explaining why the economy has grown so slowly since the housing bubble collapse and subsequent banking crisis, and points out what we do and do not know about various elements in the economic mix. He rightly notes that there is disagreement over whether productivity gains of the last couple decades can continue, or whether the gains computers offer have now been completely absorbed, and little additional efficiency can now be implemented.

    But aside from intentionally high unemployment, Baker concludes by pointing out that “the claim that the economy can’t do better in terms of generating jobs and income for the less well off depends exclusively on the authority of people [now in charge] who have been almost completely wrong on every important macro economic development for the last two decades. So you better listen!”

    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/robert-samuelson-hypes-the-views-of-always-wrong-economists-to-tell-us-to-get-used-to-being-poor

  2. Take Baker’s prescriptions with a grain of salt. Looking at the board and funding sources for the CEPR, where he blogs, it’s run by and funded by a mix of leftist foundations and unions.

    He gives himself away when he said: The public sector could replace the demand, but people like Robert Samuelson and his buddies in the Washington elite like low budget deficits more than they care about seeing people have jobs.

    He’s banging the drum that Paul Krugman is, that the stimulus was not big enough. No, it was big enough – it just was pissed away bailing out unions and creating government jobs. Very little went to “shovel ready” jobs or public works. That’s why unemployment for men went higher than for women.

  3. I hate how the Left and big spenders have co-opted words and phrases that used to mean something. My current favorite is “austerity” which should mean your income exceeds your total outgo (including interest payments on debt), but has come to mean minuscule reductions in spending that come nowhere near achieving even a balanced budget, let alone a surplus to pay down debt. Which brings up the useless phrase “primary budgetary surplus”, which means your tax receipts are higher than your spending but not including even interest payments on debt, let alone paying down principal.

  4. What ech said; I am suspicious of guys like Baker, who may well get a few things right from time to time, but is deeply entrenched in the prevailing libtard zeitgeist, academia, and the usual “think tanks” and “foundations”; his counterparts on the so-called Right are the free-trade zealots who wax philosophical about having to break a few eggs to make an omelet and suchlike. They’re all part of the ruling globalist elite, who couldn’t care less about ordinary working citizens but make a great show of it. Guys like Baker, Krugman, Samuelson, David Stockman, et. al., are probably seen as useful idiot shills, who present a facade of being in opposition to each other, while the real work is done behind the scenes.

  5. I would like to nominate anyone who uses the word “stakeholder” for summary execution. I am seeing that word a lot lately and always in a bad context.

  6. Another damn buzzword. Like buzz phrases: “take ownership” of a process, usually. A problem becomes a “challenge.” Etc. We’ve all heard this rubbish. There’s a game that corporate cubeproles like to play at meetings sometimes called “Bullshit Bingo,” wherein they have cards like at bingo games with various buzzwords and phrases on them, and every time a speaker uses one, some shouts “Bullshit” and holds up the card.

    http://www.bullshitbingo.net/cards/bullshit/

  7. My favorite BS buzzword is “reach out”. What, do they want to fondle me or something? How about just telephoning or emailing me?

  8. Well, it’s always been my position that no subject in which the correct answer is a matter of opinion has any business being “taught” at the college level, if at all, and certainly has no business being subsidized by taxpayers.

    It’s gotten to the point where I refuse to use the honorific for any “doctor” whose degree is not either an MD or a Ph.D./DSc in a hard science. A Ph.D. in anything else is not worth the paper it’s printed on. There are many people who hold a Ph.D. in subjects like women’s studies, sociology, psychology, and so on who are not bright enough to be able to do real highschool-level work. These feel-good degrees are an insult to people who are actually capable of doing and have done graduate-level work in real disciplines.

  9. Way ahead of you there, RBT, with the minor qualification that I also call dentists and vets “Doc”.

    And, being a sarcastic SOB, I often address people as Doctor if they have a useless degree, putting as much sneer into it as I can or making air quotes or otherwise pointing out that their primary function on this planet is turning food into shit. “Doctors” of Education are the worst, in my experience, though some lawyers get an (dis)honorary mention if they attempt to equate a JD with a real doctorate. I’ve done grad school in engineering, and I’ve been to law school (though I didn’t finish), and I can tell you that a JD/LLD is more like a Masters in humanities, what with all the reading and writing and squishy grading.

  10. I would like to nominate anyone who uses the word “stakeholder” for summary execution.

    If they ain’t hunting vampires, they ain’t a stakeholder. My favorite stakeholder is Willow Rosenberg.

  11. If they ain’t hunting vampires, they ain’t a stakeholder. My favorite stakeholder is Willow Rosenberg.

    +1,000,000,000

  12. Agreed with Bob and SteveF on the degree scams, even though I was once in line for a “doctorate” from a famous university’s English Department in Medieval Studies. All But Dissertation, LOL.

    I even have a problem calling Samuel Johnson “Dr. Johnson,” although he, of anyone in the field of literature and literary studies, certainly deserved the title. And I note that some of our most famous poets bailed from academia long before completing their degrees.

  13. Conservatives are the LAST people on Earth to comprehend economics. Leftists may not comprehend all of it, but they certainly outdo conservatives, who lie about statistics as repeatedly as the global warming group, and unquestionably understand that trickle down is in fact trickle up — and they know that because their shakers and movers are the 1% it is trickling up to.

    I have been following Baker since before he was part of CEPR — that is about 20 years now, — and his predictions through the period, like the late Jude Wanniski’s, are about 99% correct.

    Misstating facts is SOP for the media and conservatives; correcting them has been Baker’s job for more than a decade now. Find some inaccuracies in his writings, and I would be more inclined to believe that, than the ad hominem stuff you guys purveyed here today.

  14. Adam Smith was a conservative.

    “…about 20 years now, — and his predictions through the period, like the late Jude Wanniski’s, are about 99% correct.”

    What predictions? In either case? And had we found them accurate at the time, what use would it have been to us?

  15. May not have been any use to you, but it sure could have saved us from the housing bubble and collapse, had policy makers dealt with it to prevent a collapse, instead of being shocked by the collapse after the fact. Baker was one of those ringing the alarm bell about the bubble, which Greenspan and all his adoring minions denied was a problem at all. And those who failed at economic policy — like the mistakes of bailing the auto industry, banking, and Goldman-Sachs, — are STILL the people running monetary policy into the ground today. Make no doubt that your prolonged job search, and my inability to find anything but parttime work these days is THEIR fault. It is not theory, it is observable, documented fact that government spending can, has, and DOES replace private sector contraction of demand during bad times.

    Baker almost always points to data sources and documents his contentions, if you follow him regularly. Economics has a lot of variables, just like medicine, but just because it does, does not mean that either is mere opinion and not science.

  16. Chuck, I think you’re confusing Republicans with conservatives. I’m a conservative without being a Republican.

    In Canada we have the Progressive Conservatives. Whatever that is! They’re considered conservatives by the Liberals, but they’re still far to the left of Obama.

  17. Never met a conservative in my country who did not declare himself to be a Republican and vice-versa. Especially on the conservative overpopulated radio talk shows. No confusion here. Conservative here in the Bible Belt = Republican. Like my parents, conservatives fail to see that the Republican party was hijacked by the 1% a long, long time ago. The 1% does not want the party to win. As an old (conservative Republican) boss of mine used to say: “We make almost as much money being #2 [rated TV station] as #1 does, yet we don’t have to spend the million or so on promotion costs that is required to be #1 — so in the end, we make more than they do.” Republican elites are happy with loser candidates, because they get trickle up without the hassles of being in charge, and the extra expense of paying for commercials and promotion necessary to win. Fact is, the Tea Party is collapsing from within, as the 1% holding the purse strings starve those conservative dissidents for campaign funds, and only moderates are left, with the Tea Party fading fast to oblivion.

  18. And those who failed at economic policy — like the mistakes of bailing the auto industry, banking, and Goldman-Sachs, — are STILL the people running monetary policy into the ground today.

    The bailout of the banks was absolutely necessary to prevent a total freezeup of the banking and credit system in the US. I’ve said this here before, the commercial paper market was 24 hours from shutting down. That would have meant that companies would miss payrolls, credit cards would stop working, and accounts payables would have stopped being paid. The meltdown would have been on the order of the great depression, but played out in days, not months. At least the TARP money spent on the banks has been paid back.

    The GM bailout was done strictly to make sure the unions didn’t have to take a haircut and therefore shafted the bondholders and the salaried employees. And we took a loss on it, unlike the previous Chrysler bailout, which turned a profit. (The Chrysler bailout was done in part because they were the only producer of tanks for the US Army, and they needed the supplier to keep going.)

  19. The bailout of the banks was absolutely necessary to prevent a total freezeup of the banking and credit system in the US. I’ve said this here before, the commercial paper market was 24 hours from shutting down. That would have meant that companies would miss payrolls, credit cards would stop working, and accounts payables would have stopped being paid.

    It was worse even than that. The ATMs and debit cards were going to stop working also. When Lehman Brothers went into bankruptcy, the money guys did not know who they could trust with their cash so the overnight funds market went to zero. If the Fed had not stepped in, all financial transactions were going to stop inside the USA. It would have rapidly spread internationally. Wars are started over less.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bankruptcy_of_Lehman_Brothers

    It may still happen as I believe that the financial mess has only been postponed. To me, the signs are the tight credit market caused by the inexperienced regulators at the FDIC with their political agendas. The paperwork being caused by the Community Reinvestment Act is ruining the banking industry. The Act is blatantly unconstitutional if you ask me.

    Home builders are building 4,000 new homes per month in the Houston metroplex. There should be 6,000 new homes built per month but the land developers cannot get loans until they have sold over half the lots to home builders. The home builders are allowed one spec home at a time by the lender’s regulators unless they are internally financed like Perry Homes. As a result, home prices are jumping 10 to 20 percent per year right now in the Houston area.

    The USA runs on cheap energy and cheap money. Throttle either of these and we have a recession. Just be glad for the hydraulic fracking industry. They have saved the country and world as we would have $300 oil and $8 gasoline otherwise.

  20. You’re dead on target with the Tea Party fakirs and charlatans, who only give a shit about their Social Security, Medicare, and money in the bank, period. War does not interest them, but war is interested in them, eventually.

    As for “conservatives”, Republicans and RINOs, you make a serious error; there are, and have been, *genuine* conservatives, usually of the paleo variety like moi; others nowadays tend to be the aforementioned TP imbeciles, the neo types, descended from Trotskyites, and the country-club bullshit artists you describe as “elites.” They think themselves elites, but are not. The real elites are globalists, through and through, and members of that One Percent. They still find it useful to maintain the fiction of political parties and “conservative” versus “liberal,” when, in fact, they pull all the strings and make us all dance to their rotten tunes.

    I was a Repub until 1998, when I got sick of the nonsense and bullshit and registered here as an Independent, which I still am, however, as mentioned before here, I only bother to vote now in local town elections and on issues that concern us directly and locally. The country will be beyond all this crap in about five or six years, when Leviathan finally goes into Default and the financial house of dog-eared cards folds up for good. We’re probably gonna get a sharp wakey-wakey this next month from the Red Chinese in some regard, possibly in connection with our disappeared gold “reserves,” and/or their currency superseding the dollar at some point. This will cause a certain amount of mayhem.

    By then no one will care who is a Repub or Dem or conservative or liberal; we’ll all be way too busy treading dirty water and trying not to go under. Daily, if not hourly.

    edit: I was replying to Chuck’s post but x-posted with ech and Lynn.

  21. The bailout of the banks was absolutely necessary to prevent a total freezeup of the banking and credit system in the US. I’ve said this here before, the commercial paper market was 24 hours from shutting down.

    It was worse even than that. The ATMs and debit cards were going to stop working also.

    All conservative crap. How are you going to prove that? I have heard it all before. Back in the ’70’s, in fact. And since that is the conservative prediction of the general outcome, eventually — why are you so afraid of it happening now instead of later?

    I am not a liberal, but I am damned sure not a conservative because, like OFD, I discovered they are nothing but lying hypocrites. But a helluva lot of people who think of themselves as conservative still support them. I found out earlier than OFD — back with Tricky Dick Nixon, who — as a lawyer — gawd-damned well KNEW he was committing felonies and that his minions were doing the same under his orders. Nixon should have served time in a Federal penitentiary. Maybe then, we would not have had lying bastards like Nobama as Presidents, besmirching the highest office in the land. By the ’80’s I had completely abandoned the Republican party and was voting exclusively Libertarian. What darned few there were on the ticket back then.

    Get with it conservatives! Stop supporting a lost and criminal cause. Last time I checked, there were more Rep politicians serving prison time for felonies in office than Dems. Although that could be due to the fact Dems are, in fact, much slicker at PR and escaping punishment. (Which is a cue: if you are in serious trouble, hire a Democrat as your lawyer, not a Republican. You’ll skate with one, but not the other.)

  22. Bob,
    Windows 8/8.1 really does suck dead bunnies. If you continue to contemplate a change, I recommend Windows 7 to tide you over until Microsoft regains their collective mind, if ever.
    Frank

  23. “I recommend Windows 7 to tide you over until Microsoft regains their collective mind, if ever.”

    Seconded.

    I had zero problems with Windows 7 Ultimate, at least until the mobo got whacked by a power surge from an electrical storm. (that did not affect the Linux machine, connected to the same router). I’ve had intermittent issues with Windows 8 and when I went to 8.1, like they constantly bug you about, I had even more issues. So I’m back to 8 and it seems to be stable for now, but I am wary every day of something else coming up.

    Just got Linux Mint 13 (Maya) LTS installed on one of Mrs. OFD’s laptops, a used Sony Vaio whose keyboard bit the dust. External keyboard and good to go. Not sure yet what to use it for.

    “…I found out earlier than OFD — back with Tricky Dick Nixon…”

    Ah yes, my old Commander-In-Chief. Followed by Ford and then I was out. Just before the Mayaguez incident wherein an AF plane carrying spec ops personnel to the scene to rescue Marines, crashed with all hands DOA. I would have been on that plane, but instead was freezing my ass off back in MA, with April snow storms.

  24. Just did a fresh install of Linux Mint 16 here. Looks good so far, and this time I really did make a list of all the packages I installed, where to get the nonstandard ones, and how to set them up.

    Since most stuff comes from the central repositories, this was a matter of hours, and I only have one single commercial program, which needs a license key. Windows software, but it runs under newer versions of Wine.

    Under Windows I would still be hunting for installation packages that liked my license keys, rebooting 20 times for various updates, etc.. Just as a very minor example:I do have Win7, fully licensed, in a VM. I posted the files, but VirtualBox must have changed something – maybe new Mac-addresses? So I had “non-genuine” warnings, and had to hunt for ages to finally find a link for reactivation. I wonder how many times I can do that before MS decides I am an evil pirate?

    So, no, I don’t believe our host…

  25. I had 16 but went back to the LTS 13, just to avoid any new headaches. It’s on a used laptop now, that I don’t really know what to do with at this point anyway. I have Fedora 20 for the cutting-edge experience on another desktop and since I put it on there, zero problems. Ditto RHEL 6.5 so far. So all my “issues” and “challenges” lately have been with this Windows 8 machine; I will say one thing that is evident; it does not like any Windows 7-specific apps. And 8.1 was not ready for prime-time, but I admit I have three HP Pavilions here and two of them have those Qualcomm/Atheros ethernet controllers, which have been a major headache; they have yet to write drivers for the latest Linux distros. Which is a show-stopper, of course, unless you don’t need the net for anything. So you, as has been mentioned here already, have to scout around for third-party drivers that may or may not work, tinker with various system and config files, and RH had me jumping through endless config hoops to try to get it to work. They don’t have drivers yet, either, and no plans to produce any, evidently. But I got it working on a machine with different ethernet hw. All of that is a headache that a small biz owner/manager doesn’t need, unless he or she has an IT drone on-site that can handle all that crap. Or a consultant showing up as-needed.

    And again, I’m not thrilled with the virtualization experiences I’ve had here on various machines and at work; kind of a PITA for not much of a reward so far, but YMMV.

  26. “stakeholder”, “austerity”, “transgressive”, “reach out” et al. Sounds doubleplus ungood to me, eh?

  27. No no no. “Doubleplus ungood” is said only ironically or sarcastically, by people who are aware of how ridiculous it sounds. The others are said sincerely by, shall we say, persons who wouldn’t make the cut in engineering school, who have no idea of how ridiculous they sound.

  28. I wouldn’t make the cut in engineering or law skool but somehow feel less than tragic about it. Never heard that doubleplus ungood gobbledegook, but have heard interesting words on FaceCrack such as “derp,” meaning the average ignorant Murkan consumer type, and some other stuff relating to sexual activities that I was unaware existed.

    They’re actually very transgressive but I didn’t feel that I, as a FaceCrack stakeholder, should reach out and take ownership of any further information along those lines.

  29. “Never heard that doubleplus ungood gobbledegook…”

    Given that “Nineteen Eighty-Four” was only written in the last century, and you’re deeply embedded in “Ye Olde English Dayyes”, I’m not too surprised you’ve never heard Newspeak before.

  30. I’m sure you’d do fine in law school, OFD. You seem plenty bright, and, despite their self-opinion, law students aren’t the best and brightest, not by a couple standard deviations. All law school needs is piles and piles of reading, a pile of writing, the ability to get up and argue a randomly-chosen position on some topic you don’t care about, and the ability to tolerate a bunch of commie scum professors. OK, maybe that last bit would be a sticking point.

  31. Yah, I’ve been hearing NoozSqueak for many decades now, but pay it not much mind, as it generally is superseded frequently by the corporate buzzwords. Yep, for Ye Olden Days of English, I had Old English in grad skool and also studied Old Norse, which is much like modern Icelandic, but previously my furrin language background was for medieval Italian, Provencal, Old French, and Latin.

    As for law skool; I helped support my first wife through her evening law skool for four years, plus law review, and what I saw of her reading and writing and discussion assignments put me off the idea permanently, as during my previous “law enforcement career” I’d entertained the notion more than once and actually got catalogs from around the country. And I’d also seen enough of commie scum professors in the four college and university humanities and social “science” departments I was in to last me a lifetime; all to be consigned to labor battalions after the revolution. Out of them all, I remember a total of two who I think of fondly; one I had for 18th-C British literature, and the other for medieval philosophy. To the point that even now I still read in both areas and have for the twenty to twenty-five years since.

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